This post has been sponsored by Stella® Cheese. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
It is hard to believe we have officially entered the holiday season. Once fall is here, we are in full holiday mode with our cooking, baking, and home decor.
Impress Your Holiday Guests
When it comes to cooking—sometimes we like to keep it simple and casual, and other times we like to dress it up. With the holidays quickly approaching, we wanted to create a more elegant dish to serve our guests. So, we thought we would dress up our Baked Ziti recipe a bit.
Having a gourmet holiday with Stella® Cheeses is what we are going to share with you today. If you want to take your holiday dinner to the next level, whether it is for your immediate family or you are having an elaborate dinner party, Stella® Parmesan Cheese can help you do just that.
Quality and fresh ingredients always make a huge difference when you are cooking or baking. When we are creating new recipes or making tried-and-true ones, nothing is more important than using quality fresh ingredients. Period!
Baked Ziti Time
We have been making our Baked Ziti for years. We always use garlic cloves, freshly chopped parsley, and freshly grated cheeses when we are making this dish. It is always worth a little extra time and effort when you are wanting your dish to be super special. The holidays are usually a time when most of us want our cooking and baking to be a little extra special for those we love.
Parmesan Cheese Please!
A good quality grater is extremely helpful when grating your own cheese. A high quality cheese is also very important in both taste and texture. We love this Stella® Parmesan Cheese! Stella® Cheese has been making quality cheeses since 1923. We love how it has a subtle, slightly nutty flavor and hard texture. And it ages for over ten months! I wish you could have seen how beautifully this Parmesan cheese grated. It was a dream to work with! Check out this shredded goodness below.
For our dressed-up holiday dinner, we wanted to do something a little different. Sydney and I would normally make our Baked Ziti in a casserole dish. But, we thought it would be fun and festive to serve the Baked Ziti in single-serve ramekins. Seriously, who doesn’t love single-serve portions? It is almost like the host or hostess thought of each person individually. Just seems like a really nice touch!
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 cloves garlic minced (or finely diced)
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 2 24 ounce jars marinara or spaghetti sauce
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 16 ounce box ziti/penne pasta whichever you prefer
- 2 cups Stella® Parmesan cheese grated
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese grated
- 1 bunch fresh parsley chopped
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and spray ramekins with cooking spray.
- In a large skillet, add ground chuck and cook until it is browned—stirring frequently. Drain off the excess grease.
- In a pot, heat the olive oil to medium heat. Add the minced garlic cloves and cook for 5 minutes.
- Stir the marinara sauce and chicken broth into the garlic and oil mixture. Add the drained ground chuck to the pot of sauce. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Cook the ziti noodles in water just until they are starting to get tender. They will finish cooking while they bake in the oven. Drain the noodles.
- Add the drained noodles to the meat and sauce mixture.
- Spoon the noodle mixture into the ramekins until they are almost half full. Sprinkle half the Parmesan and mozzarella cheese over the noodle mixture. Spoon the remaining mixture over the top of the cheeses. Top with the remaining cheeses.
- Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly. Remove from oven.
- Sprinkle a little more Parmesan cheese on top of the melted cheese if you would like. Then, sprinkle on freshly chopped parsley. Serve immediately. *Caution your guests that the ramekins are very hot!
This is such a beautiful and delicious dish! You can see how easy it is to have a gourmet holiday with Stella® Cheese!
Hot crusty french bread or dinner rolls and a cool crisp salad round out this delicious and elegant meal.
We hope you have a wonderful holiday season and enjoy some delicious food with your family and friends!