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Meaty Baked Ziti

Serves 6

Prepare this easy, make-ahead pasta and meat dish today and bake it tomorrow.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 pound sweet or hot Italian Sausage
  • 3 tablespoons rosemary, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry red or white wine or 1 cup additional stock
  • 2 cans San Marzano tomatoes (28-32 ounces each)
  • 1 cup beef or veal stock
  • 1 pound ziti rigate
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
  2. Heat the EVOO in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the fennel seed and beef and season with salt and pepper. Add the sausage and brown and crumble both until caramelized, breaking the meats up into small bits. Add the rosemary, onion and garlic and cook, partially covered, about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally to soften the onion. Deglaze the pan with a little wine; add the stock and tomatoes and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Cook the pasta for about 6 minutes, just shy of al dente. Toss the pasta with the sauce and place in a casserole. Top with cubes of mozzarella and sprinkle with the Parmigiano Reggiano. Bake from room temperature at 400ºF, until the cheeses are melted and bubbly, 20 minutes. If cooking from refrigerated or frozen, after the pasta comes to room temperature, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, then uncover to lightly brown, another 10-15 minutes.