Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I Should Have Been Born Italian

I love Italian food! My favorite foods are pizza and pasta - so you'll be seeing a lot of that on my blog. I was looking for a new recipe that would make a lot of food for leftovers, while trying something new. After searching many different recipes on various sites baked ziti for I became quite confused - there are many different variations for this dish - some including cottage cheese, sour cream, etc. I'm not a fan of cottage cheese, and sour cream didn't seem all that appetizing.

I came across two recipes from two separate blogs from the the wonderful ladies at the What's Cooking Board and I liked elements of both of them. I took the sauce from Sugar & Spice and some of the ingredients and preparation from Amber's Delectable Delights. It turned out soooo yummy - my hubby and his friend gave it rave reviews and took some for lunch the next day. I will post the ingredients and prep that I used, which I altered slightly, but to see the original ingredients - just click on the previous links. I served this with red & green leaf salad &Italian crusty bread with homemade garlic/herb butter.

Baked Ziti

1 lb ziti pasta
1 lb ground sirloin
salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes to taste
12 oz ricotta cheese
4.5 cups spaghetti sauce (recipe below) Recipe will yield more sauce, add more to the dish if desired or reserve for another use
The cheese amounts are estimated - add more/less if desired - you could also include/substitute provolone or Italian shredded cheese blend for the following:
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
3/4 cup grated Romano cheese, divided
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 and grease the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 casserole dish.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, season water with salt, boil pasta till al dente; drain and set aside.

Meanwhile brown ground beef in skillet and season with desired amounts of salt, black pepper, garlic and red pepper flakes. Drain excess grease away from meats and return back to skillet.

Put a thin layer of sauce on bottom of baking dish to prevent sticking. In a large pot, mix 4 cups of sauce with meat, ricotta cheese and pasta. Pour half of the mixture into the baking dish and top with 1/2 cup Romano, 1/2 cup mozzarella , 1/4 cup Parmesean. Pour remaining noodle mixture and top with 1/2 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan, 1/4 cup Romano cheese.

Cover with tin foil and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, then remove foil and broil on low for 5 minutes if you like the cheese a little bit browned. Let set 5 minutes to cool before serving.

Spaghetti Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 28-oz. cans crushed tomatoes
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
2.5 teaspoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons dried basil
1.5 cup water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tsp sugar (or more to taste)
2 bay leaves, whole

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onion is tender.
Add tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, parsley, basil, water, salt, pepper, sugar and bay leaves.

Stir and bring to a boil. Stir and lower heat to a slow simmer. Cook 3-4 hours. Remove bay leaves before serving.


Laura said...

This looks great, I've been craving some good pasta lately!

Michelle said...

I hope you enjoyed the sauce, thanks for giving my recipe a try!