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Cheese Crusted Baked Ziti - This classic baked ziti with a bolognese sauce has extra cheese pan fried on each side for extra cheesy goodness. keviniscooking.com
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5 from 3 votes

Cheese Crusted Baked Ziti

The trick to make an already classic pasta dish like baked ziti even better is more cheese. So why not dust each slab on both sides with Parmesan cheese and pan fry for a beautiful golden crunchy crust. This is a make ahead and refrigerate overnight dish.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: baked ziti recipe, cheesey pasta, pasta cheese bake
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 840kcal

Ingredients

  • 8 oz  ziti cooked
  • 3 cups of marinara sauce separated
  • 1 lb hot Italian sausage (or sub ground beef)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 tbsp Italian herbs
  • 1/2 lb fresh mozzarella  grated
  • 2 medium eggs beaten
  • 4 slices of provolone cheese

  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese finely grated, separated
  • 1 cup ricotta whipped
  • parsley for garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a meatloaf baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • Cook ziti pasta per package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Set aside.
  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat add the oil and sauté the garlic. Add the sausage meat and brown, breaking it up with spoon to crumble. Sprinkle in the herbs, marinara sauce and reserved cooking liquid. Cook for 10 minutes on low. You now have a Bolognese, which is a meat-based sauce (See Note 1).
  • In a small bowl whisk the two eggs. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, toss the cooked ziti with 2 cups of bolognese sauce and 1/2 cup of Parmesan. Save remaining bolognese sauce for plating.
  • Place half the ziti in a prepared meatloaf baking dish. Add a layer of the mozzarella cheese. Top with the rest of the ziti. Pour the beaten eggs over all and gently tap meatloaf pan on counter to distribute egg and help ziti to settle. Layer 4 slices of provolone on top and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake for 35 minutes, cheese should be golden brown.
  • Let it cool in the refrigerator, preferably overnight. Using a kitchen knife, slice the baked ziti into 6 slab-sized servings.
  • Gently press remaining finely grated parmesan cheese on each side of the the ziti slab. Heat oil in a skillet on medium high and carefully place the cheese encrusted ziti slab into the hot skillet. Cook it on each side, the cheese will start to melt and form a beautiful golden crunchy crust.
  • Serve on a plate with remaining bolognese sauce topped with a spoonful of ricotta and fresh chopped Italian parsley.

Notes

1. If sausage meat is too chunky, pulse the sauce and sausage several times in a food processor after cooking and then use with cooked ziti pasta..
 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 840kcal | Carbohydrates: 42.6g | Protein: 43.8g | Fat: 54.4g | Saturated Fat: 25.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 20.5g | Cholesterol: 193.8mg | Fiber: 3.8g | Sugar: 9.1g