Lynne's Kitchen

You don't have to be a professional chef to cook tasty meals

Baked Ziti

Baked Ziti is one of those “comfort food” type dishes for me that when I make this for dinner, I can literally eat this all day long! I personally like my cheese baked a little longer creating that delicious smoked-type cheese flavor. Not to mention the top layer of crispy noodles that result as an innocent by-product. If you are an “edge” eater, I highly recommend letting it hang out a little longer in the oven.

My Notes:

  • Substituted ground beef for Italian Sausage (didn’t have any on hand)
  • Omitted salt from the sauce as well as when cooking the ziti noodles since the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese are plenty flavor for this dish and the canned tomatoes have a decent amount of salt already.

Family Verdict:

The best thing about this dish is that my 4- and 2- year old ate their plates clean! Well, aside from Big K who left the tomatoes to congregate, but when resistance is minimal during any meal, I’ll take it! This is an all-time favorite with Hubbo.

Recommended:

Yes, yes, yes!

Bon appetit,
Lynne

Baked Ziti
Printer-Friendly Version
Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried ziti pasta
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 1/2 cups Quick Tomato Sauce (recipe follows)
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, half cut into 1/2-inch cubes and half thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch red pepper flakes

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously, and boil the pasta until al dente, tender but still slightly firm. Drain.
  • Toss the cooked pasta with the marinara sauce, cubed mozzarella, half the Parmesan cheese, black pepper, and pepper flakes.
  • Transfer the pasta to an oiled 9 by 13-inch baking dish.
  • Cover the top of the pasta with the sliced mozzarella, and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan.
  • Bake until lightly browned and hot, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Quick Tomato Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound sweet and or spicy Italian sausages (casing removed and crumbled) or ground beef
  • 1/4 medium onion, diced (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 1/2 cups whole, peeled, canned tomatoes in puree, (one 28-ounce can), roughly chopped
  • Sprig fresh thyme
  • Sprig fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  • Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Cook the sausage/ground beef until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the onion and garlic, stirring, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes more.
  • Add the tomatoes and the herb sprigs and bring to a boil.
  • Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
  • Remove and discard the herb sprigs.
  • Stir in the salt and season with pepper, to taste.
  • Use now or store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

Source: Adapted from Food Network

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April 21, 2010 - Posted by | Kid-Approved, Main Meal, Pasta

1 Comment »

  1. Mmmm…we will make this very soon especially for the crunchy top!

    Comment by Maryann | April 23, 2010 | Reply


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