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Baked Ziti Bolognese

Cook Time:
55 mins
Prep Time:
20 mins

Chef notes

This baked pasta is the definition of Italian comfort food. It's filled with hearty meat sauce and creamy ricotta cheese then topped with melty mozzarella and flavorful Parmesan cheese. It's perfect for a casual family dinner and impressive enough to serve to guests.


  • 1 pound ziti or penne pasta
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large bulb fennel, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, divided
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 2 cups marinara sauce, homemade or store-bought
  • 2 cups veal stock
  • 1 cup white wine
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups fresh ricotta cheese, divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 12 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan



Preheat oven to 350 F.


Heat a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook to al dente. Drain pasta through a colander. Toss with a little olive oil so the pasta does not stick together while you make the sauce; set aside.


Make the sauce: In a food processor, grind the onion, fennel, and carrot until fine.


In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over low heat. Add the ground vegetables, red pepper flakes and garlic. and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the moisture evaporates, stirring occasionally.


Brown the chicken and veal, wine and stock to the saucepan. Stir to mix and simmer over medium to high heat, stirring occasionally, for 1½ hours or until the sauce thickens and is reduced by one quarter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Assemble the casserole: Spread a thin layer of the sauce in the bottom of a 9- by 13-inch casserole pan then dot the surface with half the ricotta cheese. Ladle a spoonful of sauce into the pasta, stir it well and then add the pasta into the casserole. Pour the rest of the sauce over the pasta, dot the remaining ricotta cheese over the pasta, add basil, Italian seasoning and remaining red pepper flakes, and sprinkle on top both the mozzarella and the Parmesan cheese. At this point, you can cool, cover and refrigerate or freeze to save for later.


Bake uncovered in oven until the top is lightly browned and the cheese melted, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.