Rania Harris stopped by Pittsburgh Today Live today to show off a delicious Baked Ziti Al Telefono recipe!

Baked Ziti Al Telefono

  • 1# ziti pasta (good quality Italian product) cooked al dente
  • 2 cups homemade marinara sauce (see recipe below)
  • 2 cups Balsamella sauce (see recipe below)
  • 1# fresh Buffalo mozzarella – cut into ½ inch cubes
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • ½ cup bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Place cooked and cooled ziti in a large mixing bowl. Add the tomato sauce, Balsamella, mozzarella and grated cheese and stir to mix well. Place in a well oiled 9×13-inch casserole dish and sprinkle with bread crumbs and bake in oven until bubbling and crusty on top, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Yield: 8 servings

Homemade Marinara Sauce

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 peeled and halved garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 – 35-ounce can crushed Italian tomatoes in their own puree
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 2 basil sprigs


In a large saucepan, heat the extra-virgin olive oil. Add the garlic cloves and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the sugar and basil sprigs and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened and reduced to 3 cups, about 30 minutes. Discard the basil sprigs and garlic.

Balsamella Sauce

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg

Melt the butter in a saucepan and whisk in the flour. Cook the flour mixture for a minute or two. Add in the milk, whisking all the while. Season with the salt and add in the nutmeg. Continue cooking over medium low heat, whisking and being careful that the mixture doesn’t scorch on the bottom of the pan. Cook until mixture begins to boil and thickens.

Yield: 2 cups