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Both of my younger children love baked ziti. I have developed a special tomato sauce that they both like as well. Sometimes I make home-made meatballs to go with this. Other times I use Italian sausage, or premade meatballs to save time. In this case, I used store-bought meatballs. I think you will enjoy the tomato sauce. It is super easy, and very yummy.
Set out Ingredients
The first step is always to gather all the ingredients you need to make the dish. This is a simple way to be sure you have everything needed before you begin cooking. Everything you see above is what you will need for this recipe.
Chop the fresh basil and garlic and set aside.
Begin by adding one tablespoonful of the olive oil to a frying pan and cook the meatballs over medium heat. Turn them every 3 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, boil water and cook pasta according to package directions. I used 16 oz rigatoni for this recipe.
Add the other tablespoonful of olive oil to a saucepan and cook the garlic until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, salt, pepper, mint, fresh basil, and Italian seasoning mix. Stir well and simmer over low heat until noodles are finished cooking.
After noodle are finished cooking, drain them and pour into a glass baking dish. Add half the sauce and stir well. Place the meatballs in the pan as shown. Cook in a pre-heated 325-degree oven for about 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and add more sauce and stir. Top with shredded cheddar cheese and return to oven and cook for another 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and serve in bowls. Add more cheese and fresh basil if desired.
Baked Ziti with Tomato Sauce and Meatballs
- glass baking dish
- small frying pan
- medium saucepan
- spoon for stirring
- knife for chopping
- strainer for noodles
- 16 oz rigatoni
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 28 oz crushed tomatoes
- 15 oz tomato sauce
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 4 ea fresh basil leaves chopped
- 3 ea garlic cloves
- 2 tsp dried mint
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp black pepper
- set all ingredients out to be sure you have everything you need for the recipe
- chop the garlic and fresh basil and set aside
- add one tablespoonful olive oil to the frying pan and brown the meatballs over medium heat. In the meantime, boil water and cook rigatoni according to package instructions.
- in a medium saucepan, add another tablespoonful of olive oil and cook garlic for about 2 minutes or until fragrant.
- add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, fresh basil, salt, pepper, mint, and Italian seasoning to the saucepan with garlic and stir well. Simmer until noodles are finished cooking.
- when noodles are finished cooking, drain and add to a glass baking dish.
- add half of the sauce and stir well. Add the meatballs to the noodles. Bake in a pre-heated 325-degree oven for 20 minutes.
- remove from oven. Add more sauce if desired, stir and add cheese. Bake for another 20 minutes.
- remove from oven and serve.
Michael J. Brown, RPh, BCPS, BCPP – Clinical Pharmacist