I had a lot of pizza-like ingredients leftover from my eggplant pizzas and wanted to put them to good use. You’ll be hard pressed to find someone who thinks baked pasta is a healthy meal, but it is one of the most delicious and comforting dishes out there. It’s also incredibly easy to make ahead and reheat for lunches during the week. I’m trying to save money by not eating out every day, but I’m usually rushing in the mornings, so I wanted something I could make ahead, portion out, and not worry about.
Baked pastas make a great meal because they’re filling, easy to make, and relatively inexpensive. But more than that, they’re a very classic comfort food – even though I remember making it, I can almost trick myself into thinking my mom was in the kitchen. I’m actually looking forward to the work week so that I can dig in!
Pizza Style Baked Ziti
- 1/2 pound ziti
- 24 oz canned tomato sauce
- 3 tsp dried oregano
- 3 tsp dried basil
- 3 tsp garlic powder
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 4 oz pepperoni
- fresh basil
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Cook the ziti according to the package directions. Make sure to add plenty of salt to the water to flavor the pasta.
Start your pasta sauce by heating the tomato sauce with the herbs in a saucepan over low heat. Adjust or add any spices to your liking. Once al dente, drain the pasta and add the sauce. Stir in the fresh basil, a splash of olive oil, and the parmesan cheese.
Lightly grease an 8×8 baking dish using olive oil. Create a layer of pasta on the bottom topped with a layer of mozzarella, and then a layer of pepperoni. Continue layering until all of the pasta is in the dish. Top with one last layer of mozzarella. Bake uncovered until the cheese starts to bubble and turns brown, this should take roughly 12-15 minutes. Serve with the remaining fresh basil on top.