Baked Ziti with Ground Turkey

Baked Ziti with Ground Turkey


1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1.5 lbs ground turkey ground chicken or ground beef

2 cloves minced garlic optional
1/2 cup chopped onions

2 tsp salt add more or less to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder
24 oz pasta sauce your favorite store brand marinara or tomato based pasta sauce

1/4 cup red wine optional
2 cups mozzarella cheese more or less

1/4 cup parmesan cheese more or less
1.5 cups uncooked penne pasta or your preferred shape of pasta noodle

chopped parsley optional


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Shred cheese.  Set aside.
Prepare a baking dish by rubbing a little butter around the inside of the dish to prevent any sticking. Shred cheese.  Set aside.
Boil water and cook pasta noodles according to packaging or just until al dente.  When done, drain pasta.  IMPORTANT: Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water.  Set aside
Place frying pan over medium-high heat, add olive olive.  When oil is hot, add ground turkey as it starts to brown add chopped onion, minched garlic. Season with salt and pepper and continue to brown turkey until no longer pink.

Open a jar of your favorite pasta or marinara sauce and add to browned turkey.  Taste sauce to make sure it is seasoned to your liking if not add salt and Italian seasoning as needed.  Add wine and cook until alcohol has burned off and taste test again.

If sauce is too thick for your likig, add a little pasta water to loosen the sauce.  Add pasta to sauce and stir until combined (be sure to pay attention to the pasta/sauce ratio).  Pour into your prepared baking dish.  Layer the top with grated cheese.  Place foil over the baked ziti and bake in the oven until cheese is melted, gooey, and bubbly.

If you like the top to be slightly browned, remove the foil and continue baking for a few extra minutes until the top is slightly browned. Sprinkle the top with parm and chopped parsley (optional).
Serve immediately and ENJOY.


Please note: Nutritional values serve as a guide only as values may vary.
Be mindful of the sauce to pasta ratio as you do not want your pasta to absorb all of your tomato-based sauce which could result in a dry pasta dish which you definitely do not want.
Reserve about 1 cup of pasta water to loosen the sauce if it's too thick.