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Ricetta Baked ziti with pork ragu

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This is a giant, lusty dish that plays on our basest desires. It has become my go-to entree for large parties of carnivores, especially when cooking time is limited and I expect to serve family-style.

I once made this for a New Year's Eve party; people who hadn't been there were showing up the next day to see whether there were leftovers.

Tempo Preparazione:
Tempo di cottura:
Porzioni: 12
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Cost per serving $1.05 vedi dettagli
  • SAUCE:
  • olive oil – 2 T
  • pancetta – 2 slices, ~ ¼” thick (cut into ¼” dice)
  • pork shoulder – 2 lbs. (cut into 1” cubes)
  • hot Italian sausage – 1 lb. (casing removed, cut into 1” segments)
  • onion – 1 large (coarsely sliced)
  • garlic – 8 cloves (sliced)
  • carrots – 2 (coarsely sliced)
  • celery – 2 stalks (coarsely sliced)
  • thyme – 6 large sprigs
  • bay leaves – 2
  • red pepper – 1/2 t
  • wine, red – 2 c
  • beef stock – 2
  • tomatoes – 1 28-oz. can (of puree; or whole tomatoes that you've crushed with your fingers, reserving the juice)
  • PASTA:
  • ziti or rigatoni – 1.25 lb. (cooked, but not all the way -- a little harder than "al dente")
  • mozzarella – 8 oz. (coarsely grated)
  • provolone – 8 oz. (coarsely grated)
  • sour cream – 1 c (whipped)
  • parmesan – 8 oz. (grated)


  1. Heat the oil in a tall sauce pot over medium-high heat. Brown the meats separately (bacon, pork shoulder, sausage), and set them aside in a covered bowl. Watch out for overbrowning of the crystallization; you might have to wash out the pan if it gets too dark.
  2. In the browning oil, cook the vegetables (onions, garlic, carrots, celery) until the vegetables are slightly soft. Throw in the herbs (thyme, bay, pepper) and cook for a minute or so. Add some salt, but remember to add less if you’re using canned stock.
  3. Add liquids (wine, stock, tomatoes) and the browned meats. Add enough water that the meat isn’t poking out of the sauce. Bring to a boil and then cut back to a bare simmer. Cover and cook for two hours. Skim excess fat occasionally.
  4. Using a wooden spoon, find the pork cubes and press them against the side of the pot, so that they come apart into individual fibers. Leave the sausage alone. Simmer for a while longer, and make a final adjustment for consistency and seasoning. This sauce gets better if it sits for a couple of days, but can be used immediately.
  5. To assemble: Butter a 9 x 13” dish. Add the ingredients in layers: half the pasta, the provolone, the sour cream, half the sauce, the rest of the pasta, the mozzarella, the rest of the sauce, and finally the parmesan. Cover and set aside or refrigerate if it will be a while.
  6. To cook: Preheat oven to 400°F and cook uncovered for 15 min or until the cheese is browned on top, at which point cover it loosely with foil. Cook until warmed through, around 15-20 minutes more. Rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting.


Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving %DV
Serving Size 74g
Recipe makes 12 servings
Calories 92  
Calories from Fat 45 49%
Total Fat 5.02g 6%
Saturated Fat 2.02g 8%
Trans Fat 0.0g  
Cholesterol 20mg 7%
Sodium 520mg 22%
Potassium 177mg 5%
Total Carbs 2.74g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0.5g 2%
Sugars 1.08g 1%
Protein 8.36g 13%
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  • Mihir Shah
    Amazing! Made this for a dinner party tonight. Very rich; went very well with the zin I served. The ragu makes the dish, not surprisingly. Next time I'll cook the pasta less before baking. A real treat. Thank you, Chris.
    Ho cucinato/assaggiato questa ricetta!
    • Mary Joseph
      This is DELICIOUS! Made this for my bosses and couldn't resist 'taste testing' it quite a few times. I can't pin-point why, but I had a lot of fun making this dish. Thanks for sharing!

      P.S. When I made this I only made 1/2 of the recipe and froze the rest of the sauce. Today, 2 months later, I defrosted it and served it over pasta noodles and the sauce was still incredible.
      Ho cucinato/assaggiato questa ricetta!


      • Mary Joseph
        22 Aprile 2008
        P.S. Funny story: I've been sick in bed for 5 days watching The Sopranos seasons 1-4, and ALL they eat is pasta, obviously. So its Baked Ziti this and Baked Ziti that and I'd decided to eventually find a good Ziti recipe and make it. So I'm back at work today and come to this website and the first thing I see is Mihir's invitation to join Roman Nights, I join and whats the first recipe I see? Yep, this one, It was fate :)

        Ok I guess it wasn't a "funny" story...... :P
        • Chris Patil
          09 Marzo 2008
          Mihir, thanks for the point about the pasta. I've altered the recipe to remind people to undercook so that it doesn't get mushy in the baking step.
          • John Spottiswood
            05 Marzo 2008
            Hands down, you've got the most fantastic descriptions of your food on the site Chris. Once I read it, I have to try it. Thanks for sharing!
            • Mihir Shah
              05 Marzo 2008
              Will be making this for my next party; looks fantastic. Thanks Chris.

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