When it comes to comfort foods, baked ziti is a top contender for many people. Today I’m excited to share my delicious Taylor Street Baked Ziti recipe packed with flavorful tomato and alfredo sauces, hearty meat, tender pasta and melted cheeses galore. This crave-worthy baked pasta dish delivers the ultimate Italian-American flavors in one pan to satisfy any cheesy, saucy pasta craving. With both a rich, herb-infused tomato sauce and a velvety alfredo sauce smothering rigatoni noodles, the stage is set for magic. We then add savory sausage and ground beef which absorbs all the surrounding flavors.
Finally, blankets of melted mozzarella tie everything together into cheesy baked harmony. Just one bite of this sensational Taylor Street Baked Ziti with its fusion of saucy, meaty, tomatoey flavors all encasing al dente pasta makes this Italian specialty irresistible comfort food at its finest.
Now let’s get baking!
How to Make Taylor Street Baked Ziti
Making this mouthwatering Taylor Street Baked Ziti is actually quite simple. Here is a quick overview of what’s involved:
Taylor Street Baked Ziti Recipe
Indulge in the ultimate Italian comfort dish with this cheesy Taylor Street Baked Ziti recipe packed with meaty, saucy pasta goodness. Baked in a combo of tomato and alfredo sauces with rigatoni, sausage, beef and gooey mozzarella cheese, this is irresistible Baked Ziti perfection.
For Alfredo Sauce:
- Sauté the diced onion in olive oil over medium heat until soft and translucent, about 5-6 minutes.
- While the onion cooks, boil water and cook rigatoni pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- In another pot, brown the ground beef and Italian sausage together over medium-high heat. Cook until no longer pink, about 8 minutes. Drain excess fat.
- To the meat, add the tomato basil sauce, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes and all the spices: 1 tsp Italian seasoning, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp red pepper flakes, 1 tsp black pepper, 1⁄2 tbsp sugar. Let simmer.
- Prepare the Alfredo sauce by melting 1 stick butter over medium heat. Add minced garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in heavy cream and Parmesan. Season with 1 tsp Italian seasoning, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp red pepper flakes and 1 tsp sea salt.
- When finished, mix the drained rigatoni pasta with the tomato meat sauce in a 9×13 baking dish. Smooth to evenly coat pasta.
- Pour the Alfredo sauce evenly over the tomato pasta layer. Sprinkle mozzarella over top.
- Bake at 400°F for 12-14 minutes until hot and bubbly. Finish under broiler 1-2 minutes until cheese browns. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.
Tips & Substitutions
- Balancing both sauces evenly is key to getting that perfect half-red, half-white baked effect.
- Can substitute Italian sausage for ground turkey or leave out meat entirely.
- For shortcuts, use jarred pasta sauce and ready-made Alfredo sauce.
- Adjust spice amounts to taste preference.
- Other pasta shapes like penne, rotini or farfalle work too.
- Top with basil instead of parsley for brightness.
Taylor Street Baked Ziti is rich, filling and extremely versatile. Here are some tasty ways to enjoy it:
- As a main course with salad and garlic bread
- As a side dish next to chicken parmesan or meatballs
- Scooped on top of pizza for an Italian-style pie
- Baked into individual ramekins for easy portioning
No matter how you serve it up, this cheesy baked ziti is sure to satisfy!
Storing and Reheating Leftovers
Like any pasta dish, Taylor Street Baked Ziti lasts up to 4 days tightly covered in the refrigerator. To reheat, transfer individual portions to oven-safe bowls or dishes and cover with foil. Bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes until hot throughout. You can also reheat single servings in the microwave. Just be careful not to overheat or the cheese can become rubbery.
This ziti is just as delicious served cold too. I like to grab forkfuls for quick snacks straight from the fridge!
Can I prep this ahead of time?
Yes! Fully assemble the pasta dish then refrigerate up to 24 hours before baking. Cover tightly before placing in the oven. Add 5-10 extra minutes to ensure it’s fully heated through.
What wine pairs best with Baked Ziti?
A hearty, full-bodied red like Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec or Chianti Classico is divine with the tomatoey flavors. For a white, try an oaked Chardonnay.
Do I need to use all the different cheeses?
Feel free to adjust the cheeses to suit your tastes! Just maintain that crucial top layer of mozzarella for best melted results.
Can I substitute gluten-free pasta?
Yes, a rice or lentil-based gluten-free pasta will work. Just be extra careful not to overcook it to a mushy texture when boiling.
Recreating the legendary Taylor Street baked ziti at home is totally doable thanks to this flavor-packed recipe combining both tomato and Alfredo sauces. Loaded with cheese and fresh herbs, one bite will transport you to the red sauce mecca of Chicago. I hope you’ll give this recipe a try soon and make Taylor Street proud! Buon appetito!