Thursday, June 13, 2013

Creamy Baked Ziti

Something clicked in my life when I learned how to make skillet alfredo sauce.  Talk about a sauce you can eat on anything.  And up to this point, I pretty much have.  Once I saw how easy it was, I could never buy the jarred stuff again.  

Other reasons to make homemade alfredo:
You want to impress your spouse.
You want to attract a spouse.
You revel at the thought of simmering cream bubbling up to melt grated parmesan, creating a cheesy ganache of luscious, garlicky goodness.

I've put a lot of thought into this.

Let's make baked ziti.  

Now let's get a couple of things out of the way:

I am using penne here instead of ziti.
I am using mexican cheese here instead of Mozzerella.
I am using Arrabiata (spicy marinara) instead of regular marinara.

...because it's what I had on hand.

And you know what?  It came out great!  And I'm all about using what's in the pantry.  Oops.  I just realized I forgot to put the garlic powder in the picture.  You won't forget it like I did.

I want to show you how easy this alfredo sauce is.  The method is pretty similar to the sauce I use in the creamy pasta with peas and bacon except I add 2 ounces of cream cheese.  It helps thicken it and stabilize it.  Yum.  

You're just 5 steps away from heaven:

And you have skillet alfredo! It's exciting.
Now pour your sauce into a large bowl and when the pasta is ready, dump the pasta on it and give it a good stir to coat all the noodles.

Steamy.  I love a free facial.
Now put the noodles in a greased 9x13 pan.

In the same skillet you used to make the alfredo, you can use to make the meat sauce.  Cook your hamburger, drain it, and combine with the spaghetti sauce.  Then cover the pasta with your meat sauce.

Top with cheese.  If you please.

Cover this with foil and bake for 15 minutes at 350.  Then take the foil off and bake another 15 minutes or until it's golden and bubbly.

Creamy Baked Ziti
Adapted from The Country Cook

1 pound pasta (I used penne)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 5 oz. package shredded parmesan (about 1 1/4 cup)
2 oz. cream cheese
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 24 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
1 pound lean ground beef
2 cups mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cook pasta as instructed by package directions.  While pasta is cooking, prepare the alfredo sauce.  In a large skillet, melt the butter.  Then add the cream and stir.  Add the parmesan cheese and whisk until combined.  Add the cream cheese and whisk until melted and combined.  Finally, add the garlic powder and stir well.  Pour sauce into a large bowl. When the pasta is done, pour it over the alfredo sauce and stir to combine.  Put this in a greased 9x13 pan. 

In the same skillet you used for the alfredo sauce, cook the hamburger meat completely.  Drain.  Return to the pan and combine with the spaghetti sauce and heat this through.  Layer the spaghetti sauce mixture on top of the pasta. Top with the mozzarella.  Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes or until bubbly and golden.  Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.


  1. This looks great. I cant wait to try it. Does it reheat well with the alfredo sauce? Otherwise I will have to half it. Thanks for the recipe and I'm glad it turned out well with the spicy mainara.

    1. Hi there - I think it reheats great with the alfredo but this recipe is so flexible, you could really do anything to suit your taste. I hope you like it!

  2. Your hubby told me you're blogging again! YAY! Everything looks so delicious! Scuffs and I miss you much <3

  3. I fixed this last night and my fiancé loved it! I should have cut the recipe in half because it makes a lot, but I know the leftovers won't go to waste. It was delicious!!!!!

    1. Hi Tina! Thanks for stopping by. I'm so glad you enjoyed it!