Is My Frozen Baked Ziti Still Safe to Cook and Eat?

Good Question

Q: I prepared an extra pan of baked ziti on Christmas Day 2010. I did not need to use it, so I covered it in foil, and put it in the freezer where it still remains. The tray of baked ziti has cooked pasta, cooked tomato meat sauce with sausage, meatballs, and pork chops, and fresh ricotta and mozzarella cheese, as well as grated locatelli romano.

I am concerned about the safety of defrosting and baking this dish, as it was prepared over four months ago. If unsafe, I will just discard it unused. If safe, how should I defrost and cook it?

Sent by LauraEditor: Laura, yes, I believe that this frozen dish is still safe to eat. If it has remained completely frozen then yes, there is no problem from a health standpoint. It may be slightly freezer-burnt, or a little stale, but most likely it will be delicious. If you bake it, I would suggest baking the frozen dish at the same temperature you bake the regular recipe, but covering it for most of the cooking time, and baking for 50% longer. (So, if you usually bake for an hour, bake for 1 1/2 hours.)

If you want, though, you can defrost the dish in the refrigerator overnight and bake for a normal amount of time.

Readers, any thoughts or cautions for Laura?

 

Related: Easy Weeknight Recipe: Lasagna-Style Baked Ziti (pictured above)

(Image: Real Simple)

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Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.

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