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April 5, 2017

Baked Ziti with Creme Fraiche + Spinach

Baked Ziti with Creme Fraiche & Spinach- perfect for a crowd /weeknight dinners. Find the recipe on Shutterbean.com!

Make this. Please. Because OH MY GOD, it’s TOO GOOD NOT TO SHARE.

And seriously though…

Baked Ziti with Creme Fraiche & Spinach- perfect for a crowd /weeknight dinners. Find the recipe on Shutterbean.com!

INVITE PEOPLE OVER because you are going to want to eat the whole pan.

Baked Ziti with Creme Fraiche & Spinach- perfect for a crowd /weeknight dinners. Find the recipe on Shutterbean.com!

What’s in this dish?? Baked Ziti with Creme Fraiche and Spinach. There’s also Italian sausage in there too! It tastes like lasagna and the edge pieces and crispy ziti bits are just so amazing I can’t even handle it. You’re definitely gonna earn some brownie points with this recipe.

Let’s gather our ingredients for this adventure.

Baked Ziti with Creme Fraiche & Spinach- perfect for a crowd /weeknight dinners. Find the recipe on Shutterbean.com!

First, we make the creamy sauce with egg, creme fraiche, ricotta, and cheese.

Season with salt & pepper.

Baked Ziti with Creme Fraiche & Spinach- perfect for a crowd /weeknight dinners. Find the recipe on Shutterbean.com!

TADA.

Baked Ziti with Creme Fraiche & Spinach- perfect for a crowd /weeknight dinners. Find the recipe on Shutterbean.com!

Soften onions in a pan with olive oil and heat. Add garlic & oregano.

Baked Ziti with Creme Fraiche & Spinach- perfect for a crowd /weeknight dinners. Find the recipe on Shutterbean.com!

Followed by browning sausage THEN adding sauce.

Baked Ziti with Creme Fraiche & Spinach- perfect for a crowd /weeknight dinners. Find the recipe on Shutterbean.com!

When you’re making your pasta, reserve some pasta water.

You’re going to use it to quickly wilt the spinach.

Baked Ziti with Creme Fraiche & Spinach- perfect for a crowd /weeknight dinners. Find the recipe on Shutterbean.com!

Half of the sauce goes into the creamy mixture.

Baked Ziti with Creme Fraiche & Spinach- perfect for a crowd /weeknight dinners. Find the recipe on Shutterbean.com!

HELLO, LOVER.

Baked Ziti with Creme Fraiche & Spinach- perfect for a crowd /weeknight dinners. Find the recipe on Shutterbean.com!

In goes the ziti.

I just had to pause for a moment and look at this video from Sopranos (warning, language).

Look at little AJ!

Baked Ziti with Creme Fraiche & Spinach- perfect for a crowd /weeknight dinners. Find the recipe on Shutterbean.com!

Spinach goes in the mix followed by the rest of the sauce on top.

Baked Ziti with Creme Fraiche & Spinach- perfect for a crowd /weeknight dinners. Find the recipe on Shutterbean.com!

All the cheeses!

Baked Ziti with Creme Fraiche & Spinach- perfect for a crowd /weeknight dinners. Find the recipe on Shutterbean.com!

BAKED ZITI!!! DIBS ON THE EDGE PIECE(s).

Baked Ziti with Creme Fraiche & Spinach- perfect for a crowd /weeknight dinners. Find the recipe on Shutterbean.com!

Who doesn’t love crispy pieces of pasta?

(My son, THAT’S WHO)

Baked Ziti with Creme Fraiche & Spinach- perfect for a crowd /weeknight dinners. Find the recipe on Shutterbean.com!

Scoop it out into bowls.

Baked Ziti with Creme Fraiche & Spinach- perfect for a crowd /weeknight dinners. Find the recipe on Shutterbean.com!

Loving this new cookbook- Back Pocket Pasta.  Casey loves when I make pasta, so this will come in handy when I’m looking for new inspiration. There’s a creamy saffron risotto recipe that has my name all over it.

Baked Ziti with Creme Fraiche & Spinach- perfect for a crowd /weeknight dinners. Find the recipe on Shutterbean.com!

Ahhhh yes. A great meal to share with anyone who needs some extra love, tenderness, and cheeeeeeese in their life.

Baked Ziti with Creme Fraiche & Spinach

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serves 6 to 8

recipe slightly adapted from the Back Pocket Pasta Cookbook

  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1 cup creme fraiche
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 28 oz can plus 1 14-oz. can diced San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 lb. ziti
  • 5 oz. baby spinach
  • 3/4 lb. mozzarella, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, creme fraiche, egg and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and black pepper and set aside.

Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and oregano and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the sausage and cook until browned, breaking up the meat with the back of a wooden spoon. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Season to taste and cook until the sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 4 minutes, short of al dente according to the package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water. Place spinach in a medium bowl and pour over pasta water to wilt spinach. Drain and set aside once wilted.

Remove the sauce from the heat. Stir half of the sauce into the ricotta mixture. Add the pasta and spinach and toss together to coat. Pour the pasta into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Top with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle the mozzarella and remaining Parmesan over the top and bake until the cheese starts bubbling, about 20 minutes.

Set the oven to broil and broil until the cheese and pasta are browned in spots, about 5 minutes more. Remove from the oven and let rest 5 minutes before serving.

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  • Mollie

    gorgeous, gorgeous photos. i would like to face plant into that bowl of comfort.

  • Jemma

    Drool. Oh my goodness, I need to make this.

    Interesting that you call it ziti – here in the UK that’s just pasta to me! 😀 I’m guessing it’s like you call macaroni.

  • Rachel

    Oh my god. Is it bad that I kind of want to make this and NOT invite anyone over so I don’t get judged when I eat the whole thing? Amazing. I’d like some for breakfast now, please.

  • Ashlyn @ The Pedantic Foodie

    Oh my goodness… You’re speaking my language here. I have been craving baked ziti the past couple weeks and this is the final nudge that I needed. I cannot wait to try this!

  • Natalie

    Oh. My. God. Drool…

  • Kathy H.

    Made this for dinner last night as per directions, didn’t change a thing – and it was outstanding! A keeper to add to my recipe file, thanks Tracy!

  • Rachel

    I will be making this VERY SOON! I’m such a sucker for those crusty edges…mmm mmm

  • Kelley Gargon

    I love your white pan! Where can I find one? Love love your blog!

  • Alastair

    Thanks Tracy, this is a great recipe. My wife said this it the best pasta recipe she has had in years (including restaurants)!

    Jemma, I feel like I could be Tracy’s recipe editor for the UK I make so many of her recipes. I used penne pasta as we don’t get ziti and instead of Italian sausage I used chorizo and it was incredible, really recommend giving it a go.

    • Tracy

      Oh awesome!!! I’m so glad you liked it and I really love the idea of using chorizo!

  • Tina

    Hi Tracy,
    This sounds soooo good and I am totally making this this weekend. I was just wondering…did you use fresh mozzarella or regular plain mozzarella?
    Thanks!

    • Tracy

      Just regular plain! I was thinking of using fresh but I’m not sure I want my ziti to have any extra wetness from the cheese. That stuff is super watery!

      • Tina

        Thank you! Plain mozza it is! You’re right–fresh mozza does make things watery.

  • Lori

    It definitely looks like a crowd pleaser! Yum!

  • Currently Crushing On. | How Sweet It Is

    […] i’ve been craving this all week: baked ziti with creme fraiche. […]

  • Karen

    Quick question: if I want to make this Sunday afternoon to serve it for dinner on Monday night (trying to get ahead!) would you recommend prepping it through the assembly stage and then baking it Monday night or do the full recipe including baking and then reheat? Would love to make this today so any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  • Deb Hatton

    OH BABY. This looks absolutely heavenly. Beautiful photos too! We’ll be making this for dinner tomorrow and it can’t come soon enough…

  • Kaylee

    This looks incredible! Do you think it could be assembled then frozen?

  • Melissa

    SOOOO yummy, thank you! I added a smidgen more spinach and pasta, to finish up some containers before traveling. This allowed us to make a 2-serving dish for dinner tonight PLUS a 9×13 that I stuck in the freezer. I usually will sub creme fraiche, but it was soooo worth it for the creaminess. I used a batch of meat sauce I had already made, but can’t wait to try it again with sausage.

    • Melissa

      I should also add that I had to broil it a couple of minutes to get the level of crispy pasta and bubble cheese action I wanted, but it might have been because my dish was less full.

    • Tracy

      very cool! thanks for sharing, Melissa!

  • Shawn

    I had to share with you I made this last week (I just finished the leftovers for my lunch today) and it was fantastic. We are not big pasta eaters in our house, but even my husband loved it – like seriously loved it. I did use full fat Greek yogurt instead of creme fraiche (because it’s what I had), and believe it or not I used cannelini beans instead of sausage (again because it’s what I had) and it was wonderful. I will definitely be making this again – with sausage next time, which will put my husband in a super happy pasta coma for sure. Thank you for sharing.

  • Canan

    Made this last weekend, and it is absolutely delicious!! Rave reviews from everyone; definitely a keeper!! Just wanted to let you know that I did use fresh mozzarella, and it did not add too much moisture to the dish. Great recipe!

  • Amanda

    I made this last night in a two-serving dish for dinner. My husband and I loved it! I filled three other containers to put in the freezer for other nights. I’m sure my future self will be thankful. :-)

  • Elizabeth

    This was soooooo good! I have three picky teenagers boys, but even they loved this! I used seasoned ground beef instead of sausage, and sour cream instead of creme fraiche just because that’s what I had on hand, but it still turned out great. Will definitely be making again. Thanks for the awesome and easy recipe!

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