This easy, cheesy pasta dish is perfect to prepare and freeze to cook on busy weeknights. Just prepare through step 5 and pop it in the freezer. When you're ready to cook, let it stand for 30 minutes and add 15 to 20 minutes to the baking time.
12 ounces ziti pasta
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
2 (15-oz.) cans tomato sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable cooking spray
1 (8-oz.) package shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°. Cook pasta in a Dutch oven according to package directions.
Meanwhile, sauté onion in hot oil in large skillet over medium-high heat 4 to 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add beef; cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until crumbled and no longer pink. Drain mixture, and return to skillet.
Stir tomato sauce, next 4 ingredients, and 1 tsp. salt into meat mixture. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Whisk in flour, and cook, whisking constantly, 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk. Increase heat to medium, and cook, whisking constantly, 5 to 7 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Stir in Parmesan cheese, pepper, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt. Add sauce to pasta, stirring to coat.
Transfer pasta mixture to a lightly greased (with cooking spray) 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Top with beef mixture, mozzarella cheese, and breadcrumbs.
Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes or until mixture is bubbly and cheese is melted. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
MAKE IT AHEAD Fix and freeze this dish (unbaked) for a hands-off dinner. Let it stand 30 minutes before baking, and add 15 to 20 minutes in the oven.