Friday, April 5, 2013

Baked Ziti

This Baked Ziti recipe is delicious.  It is gooey and cheesey and sausagey and yummy.  

Baked Ziti
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 large onion, diced
1 pound Sweet Italian Sausage
1 pound ground beef
1 large can whole tomatoes with juice
2 cans tomato sauce or 1 jar marinara sauce
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
Red pepper flakes - a pinch to 1/2 tsp. to taste
Salt and Pepper, to taste
16 ounces pasta (ziti or whatever you prefer), cooked til it's not quite el dente.  It still should bite back a bit when you bite it.
1 15 oz. tub whole milk ricotta cheese
1 1/2pound mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
Fresh minced parsley

Heat a couple of Tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy pot.  Add the onion and cook until it starts to soften.  Add the garlic and cook another minute.  Add the meats and cook until browned.
 When browned, add the tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, pepper flakes and marinara.  Simmer for about a half an hour, stirring occasionally.  Remove 3-4 cups of the sauce from the pot and put in a bowl to cool.  
Heat the oven to 375.
In another large bowl, mix together the ricotta, about 2 cups of the mozzarella, parmesan, egg, parsley, salt and pepper.  Stir lightly.  
Drain the pasta and rinse under cool water.  Put it in the bowl with the cheese mixture and toss to combine.  Leave it with large lumps of the cheese mixture- don't stir too well.  Add the reserved and cooled meat sauce and toss.
Spray a large lasagna dish or roasting pan.  Add half of the pasta mixture, then half of the sauce, then half of the remaining mozzarella.  Repeat all three layers.  Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly and hot and the cheese on top is melted.  Remove from the oven and let it stand for at least 5 minutes before serving.     

Recipe Source:  The Pioneer Woman

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