Chase Fireflies

Classic Baked Ziti

2 Comments

baked ziti

If you’re looking for a new dish to add to your menu, this one should be it.  Cheesy, comforting, perfect.  I’m slightly addicted to this stuff, which is why I’ve made it a lot

The great thing is that you can probably get two complete dishes out of this, which makes  the time it takes worthwhile.  I usually make it with garlic bread and something green… steamed broccoli or green beans.  The heaping amount of green on my plate cancels out all of the cheese, cream, and pasta.  Plus, the colors make  me smile.  

The frozen dish is just as good as the first one.  And there’s nothing better than popping the frozen sidekick in the oven when the only thing you’re set to accomplish is getting out of bed. 

Anyway, here’s the recipe (Adapted from MyKitchenCafe)

1 pound 1% cottage cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 ounces grated parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 pound ziti or other similar pasta (like penne)
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 medium garlic cloves, finely minced (about 5 teaspoons)
1 (28-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sugar
Black pepper
3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
1 cup heavy cream (or substitute whole milk but increase the amount of cornstarch to 2 teaspoons and the cooking time in step 3 by 1 to 2 minutes)
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the cottage cheese, eggs and 1 cup of the parmesan cheese together in a medium bowl; set aside. Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in a large pot over high heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon salt and pasta; cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta begins to soften but is not yet cooked through, about 7 minutes (the pasta will finish cooking in the oven). Drain pasta and leave in colander. Do not wash the large pot.

While the pasta is cooking, heat oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat until the garlic is fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, sugar, and oregano; simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Take off heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Stir cornstarch into heavy cream and transfer mixture to the now-empty large pot the pasta cooked in. Set the pot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove pot from heat and add cottage cheese mixture, 1 cup tomato sauce, and 3/4 cup mozzarella, then stir to combine. Add pasta and stir to coat thoroughly with sauce.

Transfer mixture to a 9X13-inch baking dish (or two round glass dishes)  and spread remaining tomato sauce evenly over pasta. Sprinkle remaining 3/4 cup mozzarella and remaining 1/2 cup parmesan cheese over the top. Cover the baking dish with foil that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove foil and continue to cook until the cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown, about 30 minutes longer. Cool for 10 minutes. Serve.

*Freezable Meal: Prepare recipe right up until the baking step and then cover with a double layer of aluminum foil. Freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. To bake, increase baking time to about 1 hour. If baking from frozen, bake covered for 1 hour and 30 minutes, uncover and bake 30 minutes longer.

2 thoughts on “Classic Baked Ziti

  1. That is WONDERFUL stuff! I love it! 🙂 Some from the last batch I made is still in the freezer waiting to be eaten and it’s on my menu again for the next month. Mmm mmm goodness!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s