For full disclosure, my picky eater daughter, Scarlet, told me that my Turkey Baked Ziti recipe is so good, that I should set up a stand on the side of the road and sell it to people. What do you think? I’ll let you read about it and be the judge!
It’s such an easy recipe. In the time it took me to cook it from scratch, my husband was able to do two kid baths, and then we were ready to gather around the table. We were all feeling the Sunday night blues tonight, after a great weekend in New Jersey, seeing most of my extended family. My kids got to meet their newest first cousin, although he’s only the newest by two weeks. It was a baby-fest, a belated Mother’s Day celebration, and a birthday party for nearly half of my family.
One thing that’s so special to me, is that my mom has always been such an amazing cook and for awhile I seemed to have inherited NONE of it. I think I was just untrained and afraid. I couldn’t wrap my head around how people get such delicious food onto a plate, so I just never even tried for a long time. As a kid, one of my favorite recipes that my mom made was baked ziti. I couldn’t get enough – warm noodles, cheese, sauce and more? What could be better? It’s a special meal.
My husband always likes food with lots of meat. I’m not even remotely a vegetarian, but for some reason with pasta dishes, I’m often eating the cheese, sauce and noodles and leaving the meat on the plate. I’m more obsessed with vegetables. Now baked ziti can be altered any which way to include the meats and/or vegetables YOU love. There’s no doubt about that. I’m a cheese lover so I picked Ragu Homestyle Thick and Hearty Four Cheese Sauce and then chose ground turkey for the meat. In terms of vegetables, I’d probably add zucchini or even carrots when I make it in the future. Which I will certainly do.
Homestyle Thick and Hearty Meat Sauce
Homestyle Thick and Hearty Four Cheese Sauce
Homestyle Thick and Hearty Roasted Garlic Sauce
Homestyle Thick and Hearty Mushroom Sauce
- 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 - 1 pound ground turkey
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 box of pasta of choice
- 1 bottle of Ragu Homestyle Thick and Hearty Cheese Sauce
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3 Tbsp Parmesan
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella
- Salt, pepper, hot sauce to taste
- Preheat oven to 350.
- In a dutch oven or other oven safe pot, add the olive oil and cook the ground turkey until there's no more pink.
- Drain excess grease from pot.
- Add the garlic.
- Stir in the uncooked pasta and sauce.
- Cook for a minute or two, and add salt and pepper.
- Add the heavy cream and the water. Stir.
- Bring to a simmer and cook for 6-7 minutes until pasta begins to soften, but isn't fully cooked.
- Top with cheese of choice and cover.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes.
Ragu is big about their heritage story, and “homestyle” is a concept that is near and dear to every family, including ours. It can mean very different things across cultures and heritages. That’s what makes is special to cook the things my parents used to cook, and maybe their parents too. With Cassidy and I now both loving cooking, I can’t wait to see what my kids will make.
Ragu pasta sauce is simmered in tradition, the same way lasagna is in our family. Assunta Cantisanto, an immigrant from Naples, Italy, brought her family recipe with her to New York City. She planted a garden in her backyard in New York and used the produce she grew to make her family’s recipe famous. For the past 35 years, Ragu has been made with 100% vine-picked tomatoes grown on family farms. It is still the same recipe that Assunta brought to New York many decades ago.