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Baked Ziti alla Vodka with Smoked Mozzarella

Difficulty Level: Easy

Total Time: 1 hour

Serving Size: 3-4 servings


Vodka Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/4 cup vodka

  • 1 28 oz. can crushed San Marzano tomatoes

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • 1/4 tsp. sugar

  • 1 sprig basil

  • 1/2 pint heavy cream

Baked Ziti:

  • 3/4 lb. rigatoni or ziti pasta

  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta

  • 1/2 cup whole milk mozzarella, shredded

  • 1/3 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

  • 4 oz. smoked mozzarella, thinly sliced (roughly 4-5 slices)


  1. In a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat, add the olive oil and sauté the onions for 4-5 minutes until soft and translucent. Stir in the minced garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes further. To deglaze the pan, add 1/4 cup vodka, stirring until the vodka has fully evaporated.

  2. Add the crushed tomatoes, salt, sugar and a sprig of basil. Stir and let simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

  3. While the sauce is simmering, preheat oven to 375°F and bring a large pot of water to a boil, adding plenty of salt. Cook the pasta for half of the suggested cooking time (it will continue to cook in the oven, so you don’t want it to become soggy and overcooked).

  4. When the sauce has finished cooking, remove from heat and stir in the heavy cream.

  5. In a large mixing bowl, add the partially-cooked pasta along with the vodka sauce, ricotta, shredded mozzarella, Parmigiano, salt and pepper. Mix ingredients together and then pour into a baking dish.

  6. Top the mixture with thinly sliced, smoked mozzarella and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until cheese has fully melted. Remove from oven and serve!


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