Bolognese Inspired Baked Ziti

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This Bolognese inspired baked ziti is a great weeknight dish. Adding ground beef to this dish makes it even more satisfying! Like a bolognese sauce, carrots and wine add another layer of flavor. The ricotta makes the sauce even creamier. Then topped with lots of mozzarella cheese, which is everyone’s favorite part!

My husband is always asking for me to put another component into lasagna.  The same applies to baked ziti. I have added mushrooms, and spinach at times. The addition of meat I feel like makes it a more complete meal. Of course during the colder months this is a great weeknight meal. Or perfect for a big Sunday dinner crowd. Serve with a great salad and you are set!

Bolognese Inspired Baked Ziti

This bolognese inspired baked ziti elevates your everyday cheesy baked ziti. The addition of meat simmered in red wine gives this family meal a special touch!


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled & left whole

  • 1 carrot, peeled & chopped

  • 1 lb ground meat

  • 1/2 c red wine

  • 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes (pastene or san marzano)

  • 1 1/2 c fresh ricotta cheese

  • 2 c grated mozzarella cheese

  • 1 lb rigatoni (cooked according to package instructions)

  • salt

  • pepper

  • dried basil


  1. In a heavy bottomed pot, like a dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.

  2. Start browning the garlic in the olive oil about 2 minutes, then add in the carrots and saute for another 3 minutes.

  3. Add ground beef and brown the meat. Using a wooden spoon break up the meat into more of a crumble.

  4. After the meat is browned add the wine and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes. Then add in the tomatoes and season the sauce with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and basil. Stir to incorporate and let it simmer on a low heat for about 10 minutes covered.

  5. Meanwhile, bring water to boil in a large pot. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta and set aside.

  6. After the sauce has simmered turn off the heat. Add in the ricotta cheese and stir. Then add in the drained pasta and stir.

  7. Pour the combined pasta and sauce into a ceramic baking dish. Top with mozzarella cheese and cover with tin foil.

  8. Bake at 375 covered for 20 minutes. Then another 10 minutes uncovered. Until the top is starting to bubble and brown.