baked ziti arrabiata – easy, decadent and perfect for Mother’s Day

Baked Ziti Arrabiata isn’t really a thing. Depending where you are in Italy will dictate what they call their cuts of pasta. In Sicily the quill shaped pasta is called ziti; in Rome they call it penne. I took the Roman classic, Penne Arrabiata and combined it with the Sicilian classic Baked Ziti and created today’s post.

Baked Ziti Arrabiata is a vegetarian, cheesy, gooey, rich decadent easy to make pasta dish. Feel free to add sauteed vegetables or Italian sausage, if you are feeding meat lovers.

During the Covid – 19 shutdown, I’ve been sharing recipes Live on Face Book. I am completely unscripted which leaves lots of room for funny mistakes. Today, I forgot to include the fresh basil leaves which are critical to the beautiful flavours of Sicily. I’m so sorry!

BAKED ZITI ARRABIATA  – serves 4 – 8

Arrabiata Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 fat garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 – 400 ml cans imported Italian Polpa
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes

THE STEPS:

  1. Place olive oil in a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add minced garlic and saute gently to flavour the oil but do not brown garlic.
  3. Add the polpa and salt then bring to a bubble.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes then set aside.

Ricotta Filling

  • 1 – 475 gram container ricotta
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup Parmigiano – Reggiano, fresh grated

THE STEPS:

  1. Line a sieve with 2 layers of cheesecloth.
  2. Place ricotta in the cheesecloth lined sieve for 1 hour to allow any extra liquid to drain off.
  3. Once the ricotta has drained, place all of the ingredients in a medium size bowl and fold together.then set aside.

ASSEMBLY:

  • 300 grams dried ziti, cooked and drained
  • 2 cups Parmigiano – Reggiano, grated
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella
  • ricotta filling
  • arrabiata sauce
  • 6 – 8 large basil leaves

THE STEPS:

  1. Preheat oven 400*F
  2. Using a 12 cup casserole, spray well with spray release.
  3. Pour a third of the sauce over the cooked pasta.
  4. Place half of the pasta in your casserole dish.
  5. Place the whole basil leaves evenly over the pasta.
  6. Pour half of the remaining sauce over the pasta and basil.
  7. Divide the ricotta mixture in half then divide that half in four. Drop the 4 dollops evenly over the top the the pasta.
  8. Sprinkle with half of the remaining parmesan then sprinkle with half of the mozzarella.
  9. Repeat the whole process again using all of the ingredients.
  10. Place in oven, covered with aluminium foil for 35 minutes. At 35 minutes, remove the foil, return to oven to brown the top.
  11. Remove from oven and allow to set up for 10 minutes then serve.

THE LOVE: If you don’t like a spicy dish, substitute the arrabiata with marinara sauce.

Stay safe. XO