Gluten Free Baked Ziti – Gluten Free Dinner Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. gluten-free ziti or penne pasta
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. ground beef, turkey, or Italian sausage
  • 2 (24 oz.) jars your favorite marinara sauce (choose a gluten-free brand)
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional, for a bit of heat)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (15 oz.) container whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions:

Preheat and prep: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.

Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the gluten-free pasta according to package directions for al dente (slightly firm). Drain and set aside.

Sauté the aromatics: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the minced garlic and cook for another minute.

Brown the meat: Add the ground beef, turkey, or sausage to the skillet. Cook until browned, breaking it up as it cooks. Drain off any excess grease if needed.

Flavorful sauce: Pour the marinara sauce into the skillet with the meat. Add the Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes (if desired), and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

Ricotta mixture: In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Assemble the ziti:

  • Spread half of the pasta into the prepared baking dish.
  • Top with the ricotta cheese mixture, spreading it evenly.
  • Spoon over half of the meat sauce.
  • Sprinkle with 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.
  • Repeat the layers with the remaining pasta, meat sauce, and mozzarella cheese.

Bake: Cover the dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until bubbly and the cheese is melted and golden brown.

Rest and serve: Let the baked ziti rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. This allows the cheese to firm up a bit and makes it easier to cut. Garnish with fresh basil if desired.

Tips:

  • Customize the filling: Add sautéed mushrooms, spinach, other vegetables, or different types of cheese for variety.
  • Double it: This recipe works well for doubling if you need to feed a crowd. Just use a larger baking dish.
  • Make-ahead option: Assemble the ziti up to a day in advance. Cover and refrigerate. Bake as directed, adding a few extra minutes to the cooking time.

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