Pasta is what is for dinner!
When my children were growing, up one of my go-to dinners was Baked Ziti. Even today if I ever ask my son what he wants me to make for dinner, 99% of the time he says Baked Ziti. What I like about Baked Ziti is that you can double this recipe and have one for dinner and freeze the other for a future dinner. I don’t know about you, but there are many days when I leave for work and wonder what I will make for dinner. What could be better than to have something ready to take out of the freezer?
1 lb Mozzarella cheese
1 lb. Ricotta
2-24 ounce jars of Marina’s Tomato Sauce
1 lb. Ziti (I use Barilla)
1 egg (Free Range)
2 cups of Grated Romano Cheese
Dried Organic Parsley for color
A little Garlic Powder
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the ziti or rigatoni for about 5-6 minutes. You do not want to over cook the ziti since it will be cooking in the pan for at least 1 hour.
While you are cooking the rigatoni, dice the mozzarella and put it in a large bowl. Add the ricotta, egg, some grated cheese, salt, pepper, garlic powder and parsley. Add about a cup of tomato sauce to the mixture in order to make it easier to mix.
Once the ziti is cooked, drain and add the pasta to the cheese mixture. You can wait for the pasta to cool, but I prefer to add it when it is warm. Add a little more tomato sauce to the ziti mixture and stir.
Ladle some tomato sauce in the bottom of a Pyrex pan. Spoon one layer of ziti to the pan, top with tomato sauce and sprinkle with Romano cheese. Add another layer of ziti, top with tomato sauce and sprinkle with Romano cheese. Do not be stingy with the tomato sauce. If you think you are adding too much, think again. While the ziti is cooking, it will be absorbing a lot of the liquid.
When you have assembled the ziti, put plastic wrap and then aluminum foil over the top. The plastic wrap stops the aluminum foil from doing funky things to the pasta noodles.
Place in a preheated 375 degree oven and cook for about 1/2 hour. After a 1/2 hour take the plastic/aluminum foil off the pasta and cook for about 1/2 hour longer. You will know it is cooked when you put a fork into the center of the pan and the mozzarella comes out all ooey and gooey!
Serve with a tossed salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette and of course delicious Italian bread. I am sure that your family will enjoy this Baked Ziti as much as mine has! Enjoy!