Baked ziti is a real crowd pleaser at my family table. It is easy to assemble so it's one of those recipes that you can double or triple on those occasions when you have to feed your kids' whole soccer team.
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound ziti
- 5 cups marinara sauce, homemade or store bought
- 1 pound fresh ricotta, drained
- 9 fresh basil leaves, shopped
- 1 pound low-moisture mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 1 cup provolone cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add ziti. Cook the ziti until just al dente, about 10-12 minutes, then drain.
Meanwhile, bring the marinara sauce to simmer in a large skillet. Stir in the ricotta and basil leaves.
Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a 10- by 15-inch baking dish. Layer half of the ziti on top of the sauce. Sprinkle with half the mozzarella cubes and half of the provolone. Pour 2 cups of the sauce over the cheese, and spread in an even layer. Top with the rest of the pasta, and spread 2 cups sauce over that layer of pasta. Sprinkle with the remaining cheeses, and dollop with the remaining 1/2 cup of sauce.
Place the dish in the oven and bake, uncovered, until browned and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before cutting. (If you want to assemble this ahead of time, bake for 15 minutes covered with foil, then, when ready to serve, uncover and bake for an additional 20 minutes.)