ISO Tried and True Baked Ziti

seagrass_gwSeptember 8, 2012

Going to a neighborhood potluck dinner on Monday night, it's going to be cool and less humid. I know there will be lots of garden vegetables, salads and desserts. I'd like to take a meatless but hearty main dish and have 16 oz. of ricotta cheese to use, and a lb. of ziti.

How do you make baked ziti?


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As you probably know by now....from me, most of the time it won't be a "recipe"...but aw ay.
I make a quick tomato sauce, using canned tomatoes, onion, garlic and green pepper ( some don't like the green pepper but I think it's necessary for a good sauce), tomatoes, slosh of red wine, basil, oregano....cook until thickened...about 45 minutes.
Mix the ricotta with 2 eggs and about 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley...good grind of black pepper and about 1/2 to 3/4 cup grated mozzerella.
Cook a pound of ziti until under done...less cooked than al dente. Drain quickly and put into a bowl with a few spoons of the tomato sauce. Put half the pasta into an 8 1/2 by 11 casserole, spoon on more sauce...put globs of the cheese mixture on the pasta, top with a generous sprinkle of grated parm...add the rest of the pasta, more sauce, more parm and finish with mozzerella.
Bake at 350 until browned and bubbling....about 34 minutes...unless you refrigerate it before baking....then you better bake it covered with foil for 30 minutes and uncover for another 30 to 45 minutes.
Sort of like a messy lasagna!!
Linda C

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 2:38PM
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From prior experience, you have to have a TON, (that's 2,000 pounds), of sauce.
There's nothing worse then dry zitti, (well, maybe there

I 'drown' my pasta in sauce, (it resembles a soup). because the pasta will
absorb the sauce as it is baking.

AND, don't forget to add a TON, (yes, another 2,000 lbs.)

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 2:48PM
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Thanks to you, both. For a pound of ziti, how many cups of sauce???


    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 2:57PM
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Here are two T&T recipes. Both have meat but you could leave it out.

Found this one several years ago on Allrecipes. Don't recall who the original submitter was.

Baked Ziti

1 pound dry ziti pasta
1 onion, chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
2 (26 ounce) jars spaghetti sauce
8 ounces provolone cheese, grated
1 cup sour cream
6 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons grated
Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes; drain.

In a large skillet, brown onion and ground beef over medium heat. Add spaghetti sauce, and simmer 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer as follows: 1/2 of the ziti, Provolone cheese, sour cream, 1/2 sauce mixture, remaining ziti, mozzarella cheese and remaining sauce mixture. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheeses are melted.

And another T&T. You could sub ziti for the spaghetti.

Three-Cheese Baked Spaghetti

Yield: 6 servings

Pasta Ingredients:
8 ounces spaghetti
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 cup cottage cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese*

Sauce Ingredients:
8 ounces ground beef
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cups spaghetti sauce
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 ounces (1/2 cup) shredded mozzarella cheese, optional

1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions (al dente). Drain and return to pan (remove from heat though!). Add butter and stir until butter is melted. Add remaining pasta ingredients, stirring to combine. Spread pasta-cheese mixture in the bottom of a greased 8-inch square baking dish.

2. Brown ground beef with the garlic and onion. Drain grease and return to pan. Add pepper, spaghetti sauce, sugar, and Italian seasoning. Stir well and then pour over the pasta, spreading evenly. Sprinkle cheese on top if desired.

3. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until top cheese is browned and spaghetti is bubbly.

Additional Notes:
*If desired, substitute part of the mozzarella cheese with shredded cheddar cheese.


    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 3:22PM
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My notes say 4 1/2 cups of sauce per 8 1/2 by 11 casserole.
Remember the ricotta and all the mozzerella will melt and provide more moisture....and that a sauce made with canned tomatoes won't be as thick as a commercial jarred sauce.
I am sure you will be fine planning 4 1/2 cups of sauce per casserole.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 3:54PM
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Seagrass, I can't help you with the ziti, but i'm glad to see you here again. I was just about to post over in conversations that I hadn't seen you here lately and just like that, here you are.

Grandma used to tell me that meant I "conjured you up".

Have fun at the potluck.


    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 9:48PM
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Annie - glad to be conjured. I've been keeping up with everyone's posts drooling over the baked goods and canned goods, wishing I had paid attention when I lived at home and actually learned how to do those things.

I'm 3 years into a 5 year course of treatment with a drug for later stage breast cancer that causes a lot of bone and joint pain, fatigue and then the depression that comes along with not being able to do what I want with my body. The drug is Aromasin, in case there are any women reading this who know what I'm talking about.

So I'm being recruited by a very well-meaning group of neighbors to join a book club ( me, who loves murder mysteries and spy novels gulp). The group is meeting for the first time after a summer hiatus to select books to read for the fall and winter. After the meeting, our spouses are invited to join us for a potluck dinner.

I need to embrace this group of women (perhaps I should say I need to let them embrace me). So I'm putting myself out there, and my DH has agreed to show up at 6 p.m. for the potluck part but baked ziti just wasn't going to happen under his watch so I just put a pork butt in my slow cooker overnight and will take pulled pork sliders instead.

Thanks to all who took time to help with my request, and if anyone has a book recommendation I'd love to hear about it. I don't think this group has read Anthony Bourdain, but I might offer up Ruth Reichl. One woman I know who belongs to the book club told me "that would be refreshing" LOL


    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 11:43PM
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Well, I'm glad I "conjured" you, I knew you had health issues and was afraid you were feeling worse.

I hope you enjoy the book club and the pulled pork. So ruth Reichl would be "refreshing", would she? (grin)


    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 11:49PM
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Nice conjuring, Annie.

I'm sorry to hear of your health issues, Seagrass, but am glad you are back. I belonged to a book group long ago. I enjoyed it but haven't found a new group to join since.

Pork sliders sound delicious.


    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 7:12AM
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Seagrass, I hope you have fun with your group tonight.

Linda, I'm glad you posted the recipe, or method. I'm going to save it. Thanks!


    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 8:24AM
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I wanted to add that I grew up in an area with many first generation Italian immigrants. It was common for the Italian grandmothers to add some nutmeg when they prepared ricotta for recipes. I think it adds a nice depth to the rich saltiness of the cheese.

I also like to add pesto to things like baked ziti, stuffed shells, etc.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 8:55AM
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