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Scuderi Kids' Fast, Fake-Baked Ziti

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 45 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Cook: 25 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 3 turns of the pan

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes (recommended: San Marzano)

1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, (recommended: San Marzano)* If San Marzanos are not available, add a teaspoon sugar to your sauce, optional

Coarse salt

A handful fresh basil leaves, torn

1 pound ziti rigate, with ridges

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Freshly ground black pepper

A generous grating nutmeg

2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup shredded asiago cheese

1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 cup sliced fresh mozzarella

Crusty bread, to pass at table


  1. Put pasta water on to boil.
  2. In a medium sauce pot over medium heat, saute garlic in extra-virgin olive oil. Chop whole tomatoes and add them to the pan. Add crushed tomatoes and salt and simmer 10 minutes, add basil and simmer over low heat 10 minutes more.
  3. Add salt and pasta to boiling water and cook 6 minutes, leaving pasta a little chewy.
  4. While pasta cooks, melt butter in a small pot over medium heat. Whisk in flour, then cook 1 minute, adding salt and pepper and nutmeg to flour. Add milk and bring sauce to a bubble. Reduce 5 minutes.
  5. Drain pasta and transfer to a large flameproof casserole dish. Pour the tomato and basil sauce over the pasta and turn to coat the pasta. Pour the bechamel over the already coated pasta. Cover the top of the pasta with Asiago, Parmesan and mozzarella. Place the casserole under hot broiler and melt the 3 cheeses until brown and bubbly, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately with Spinach and Artichoke Salad and bread.

Spinach and Artichoke Salad:

  1. 3/4 pound, 4 to 5 cups, baby spinach, packed
  2. 2 (15-ounce) cans artichoke hearts packed in water, drained and sliced
  3. 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  4. 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  5. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  6. 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  7. 1/4 to 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  8. Salt and pepper
  9. A handful shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano
  10. Combine spinach and artichokes. Place garlic, lemon zest and juice in small dish and add vinegar. Let it stand 5 minutes then whisk in extra-virgin olive oil. Pour oil and vinegar dressing over salad and toss to combine. Season the salad with salt and pepper, to your taste. Top the salad with cheese then serve.
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