What's for dinner ?
Hey , everyone .
I'm Chef Z and welcome back to my channel .
Chef Z cooks today , I'm going to be showing you how to make baked Ziti .
Now , baked Ziti is seriously one of my all time favorite dishes because it's super delicious , very easy to make and very filling .
Now , as a lot of you guys know , my stepdad is Italian and his mom , grandma Kay taught me how to make her world famous baked Ziti .
And let me tell you guys something .
It is seriously out of this world .
Now , there's a ton of different ways of making baked Ziti .
And today I'm really excited to share a family recipe by Grandma Kay here on my channel .
I'm always sharing recipes by my Dominican grandmother .
But today I get to share recipes by my Italian grandmother .
Grandma Kay .
Now when grandma Kate taught me how to make her world famous Big Ziti , she made sure to stress a couple of things .
Number one , don't overcomplicate it and don't overthink it .
And number two , be sure to use really good quality ingredients , especially when it comes to the sauce .
Now , if you can't make your own Marinara sauce .
That's totally fine .
I just highly recommend that you use a really good quality jar sauce and make sure that it's a jar sauce that you love and can absolutely swear by because the sauce can really make a break this dish .
Now , if you want to learn how to seriously make one of the best baked Ziti out there , go ahead and keep watching .
Making baked is super easy and super affordable .
It's also a dish that your friends and family will definitely love .
So first things , first , we're going to prepare our ricotta cheese by adding some grated Parmesan cheese , a tiny bit of salt and a tiny bit of black pepper .
And then we're going to mix everything until it's well combined .
Now , believe it or not , the ricotta cheese is actually my favorite part of this whole entire dish .
And that's mainly because I am obsessed with ricotta cheese because it is so creamy and so delicious .
So after you've mixed that together , we're going to set that off to the side and set our flame on high .
And once that water has come to a boil , we're now going to add a good amount of salt and this is going to help season our pasta .
Now to make baked Ziti , you can obviously use some Zidi noodles or you could even use my personal favorite , which is some penne pasta .
Now , I find that the ridges really hold on to the sauce really well which is why I like using Penne pasta over Ziti pasta .
We're now going to cook the pasta until it is just shy of al dente .
So we're actually going to undercook them ever so slightly because remember this is going to finish baking in the oven and finish cooking .
So once the pasta has reached your desired doneness , we're now going to drain all of that hot pasta water , but we're not going to shock it .
In fact , one of grandma K's number one tips is to build your baked Ziti while the pasta is still nice and hot because this is going to allow the pasta to adhere to the sauce and cheese beautifully .
You now want to add your hot penne pasta into a baking dish and you want to make sure not to burn yourself in the process .
And we're not going to add a good amount of good quality marinara sauce .
And let me tell you guys something do not be cheap with the sauce when it comes to making baked Ziti .
We're now going to add some fresh basil and this is the only tweak in addition that I've ever made to Grandma Kay's recipe .
And that's simply because I feel like the fresh basil really takes this dish to New Heights .
We're not going to mix everything until it's well combined .
Now , when it comes to Big Ziti , you definitely want to make sure that it doesn't come out dry , which is why you want to be super generous when it comes to adding all of that yummy sauce .
So once you've mixed all of that sauce into the pasta , we're not going , going to take just a little bit of freshly grated mozzarella cheese and we're also going to mix that throughout the pasta .
Now , you want some melted cheese in your baked Ziti .
So that's why you want to add just a tiny bit because don't forget we've mixed up that ricotta and Parmesan cheese together .
So that's going to add some beautiful creaminess to this dish as well .
Now , when it comes to the ricotta cheese , grandma was very keen on letting me know that you want to add big dollops of ricotta cheese just like you see me doing here .
But more importantly , you want to very gently fold it into the pasta .
Now you want to make sure not to overmix the ricotta cheese into the pasta and sauce at the end of the day when your baked city is done cooking , you actually want to see some of those clumps of the ricotta cheese .
Now , once you finish folding in the ricotta cheese into the pasta , we're now going to add some more yummy sauce and we're also going to add some fresh basil .
Let me tell you guys something .
This fresh basil is definitely a game changer when it comes to making any baked pasta dish .
So I highly encourage you to add it to your baked Ziti .
We're now going to spread the sauce and the basil evenly throughout just to make sure that everything is evenly coated .
And now we're going to be adding the second star of the show , which is actually some freshly shredded mozzarella cheese .
Now , you can add as much or as little mozzarella cheese as you like .
My fiance is a cheese lover .
So I always make sure to add a little bit extra just for him .
We're now going to set that off to the side and we're actually going to set our oven to 400 degrees .
And now we're going to bake our baked Ziti uncovered for about 25 minutes or until the cheese has melted .
Now , when it comes to the melted cheese , you can melt it however you like , I like it when the cheese Caramelizes just a bit .
But my fiance actually prefers it to be a little bit less caramelized than you see here .
Now , the beauty about Big Ziti is that you can make a big dish for a big family gathering or you can make a little tiny one like you see here for a smaller gathering .
So there you guys have it .
That's my recipe on how to make baked Ziti .
I want to thank you guys so much for watching .
If you have any questions , comment down below and until next week , I'm Chef Z .
Thank you guys so much for watching today's video .
If you want to learn how to make grandma's case famous meatballs and sausage and peppers .
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