The Pioneer Woman’s Baked Ziti

Food Network’s Pioneer Woman

Ree Drummond

Baked Ziti

This is an absolutely fantastic recipe. It calls for one pound of ziti, two pounds of meat, and a small mountain of cheese. It says 12 servings. I wouldn’t have believed it but it’s true.


The recipe calls for 29 ounces of tomato or marinara sauce, one 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes, and one pound of ground beef. I went with 2 pounds of ground beef, three cans of crushed tomatoes, and increased the sauce spices by 50 percent. That way I could have meat sauce to put on the table with the ziti.

If you have people who don’t like spicy food, I’d back down on the 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes or leave them out altogether. You could always put it on the table with some extra grated Parmesan cheese. After all, that’s what they do in restaurants.

The directions call for baking it at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. That seemed a bit short to me because the weight of the ingredients in a 9″ x 13″ pan comes to more than five pounds. The last time I made it I just followed the clock and it was bubbling. Still, it wasn’t as hot as it should have been. That’s not a problem because everything in the pan had already been cooked once or could be eaten without cooking. Next time I’ll let it go longer, maybe 30 minutes or more. I’ll also check it with an oven thermometer although I have trouble with meat thermometers in shallow food.

Add a salad and garlic bread.


Joe Harkins