I had every intention of making a large family Puerto Rican Baked Ziti. But as the water was boiling and I went for the ziti pasta, I realized.... that's not what I had on hand. So I bring to you my large family Puerto Rican baked pasta recipe. It's perfect for gatherings or for freezer cooking.
How To Make Puerto Rican Baked Pasta (or Ziti)
If you want to use ziti, go ahead, it really makes no difference in my opinion. I used two boxes of pasta. 1 penne the other rigatoni. (Rigatoni... sounds so romantic, so Italian!) Cook the pasta until it's just under al dente, since we're putting it into the oven.
For the meat mixture, I made it like a basic picadillo, before adding in any olives etc. (Not in this dish.) I choose time and time again to use turkey meat in my house because it's cheaper for my family, and some might say healthier. You can choose to use lean beef, it's completely optional.
For the meat mixture, brown 3 pounds of ground turkey (or beef), with a cup of diced onions. I choose to also add my seasonings in at this time to ensure that it's flavorful. I season my meat with adobo, 2 packets of sazon (optional), 2 tablespoons of Badia Sazon Complete (I swear by this), garlic powder, extra oregano (about 1/2 tablespoon) and if needed salt and pepper.
Once the meat has browned, I add in a 1/4 cup of my homemade sofrito recipe and 2 jars of my favorite spaghetti sauce (Newman's Sockaroni Sauce) and chopped cilantro (optional -there's cilantro already in the sofrito). I lower the heat to medium low and let the sauce warm up before adding in ricotta cheese.
I then take half of the pasta and half of the meat mixture and add it to a greased 9x13 pan and top it with half of the mozzarella cheese mixture, and bake it at 350 for about 20 minutes covered with aluminum foil and then take off the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until the shredded cheese is bubbly and slightly golden. The rest of the pasta and meat mixture I add to a freezer bag and freeze until using it next time. (At which point you follow the last step, but cook for an hour covered instead of 20 minutes, and the last 10 minutes you bake uncovered.)
That's it mi gente, I hope you enjoy this Puerto Rican baked pasta recipe! Be sure to share the post and leave a comment below with recipe requests. Buen provecho!
- 2 pounds of pasta cooked under al dente
- 2 pounds of ground turkey
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 tablespoon adobo
- 2 tablespoons of Badia sazon complete
- 2 packs of sazon
- 1/4 cup of sofrito
- 1/4 cup of cilantro chopped
- 2 jars of spaghetti sauce
- 1 large container of ricotta cheese
- 4 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 365 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large pan over medium high, brown ground turkey, onions, and seasonings, about 6-8 minutes. Then add sofrito, cilantro, and spaghetti sauce. Heat sauce and add in ricotta cheese. Turn off heat.
- In a 9x13 greased pan add in half of the pasta and half of the meat mixture, toss it together, and top with 2 cups of mozzarella cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes, take off aluminum and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and golden color.
- For the rest of the pasta and meat mixture, place into a freezer Ziploc bag and freeze until ready to make. To make the freezer meal, follow the steps above, but cook for an hour covered, then 10 minutes uncovered.