Friday, August 11, 2006

Baked Ziti (or for Stacy-Lasagna (tweaks follow))

My Foodie Friday recipe for this week is Baked Ziti. This can be easily adapted to make Lasagna and I'll explain following the recipe.

This will make about a 13 x 9 inch pan. I always make extra (about 1/4 lb more pasta and adjust the sauce, shredded cheese ratio and leave the rest.

Ingredients:

1 lb ziti
1 lb ground beef
1 15 ounce container ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese
1/4 cup parsley
1 egg, slightly beaten
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
8 ounces shredded mozzarella
6 cups sauce (about 4-5 jars)

Cook ziti and set aside. Saute ground beef, drain and add sauce. Simmer a little bit. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 13 x 9" baking pan with Pam. Mix ricotta, parmesan/romano, parsley, egg, salt and pepper. Add about 3 cups of sauce to this mixture and stir. Then add the ziti and mix well. (To keep from having 400 bowels dirty at one, I generally mix the ziti/sauce/cheese mixture in the pot I used to boil the ziti in-it's big enough to be able to mix it thoroughly without stuff flying out all over)

Pour into prepared baking dish and pour remaining sauce over ziti and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese-Bake about 25-30 minutes.

Now, to use this to make Lasagna, I always use the No Cook Barilla Lasagna noodles because it's way easier, but you have to use a little more sauce.

To make a 13 x 9" pan, you will need about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 boxes of the lasagna noodles. One never makes it. Anyway, don't mix the sauce with the ricotta mixture and you will need 8 ounces more of mozzarella for a total of 1 lb. Half can be shredded and the other half can be a block you slice thing.

Put a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of the pan and place the lasagna noodles on top of this, covering the bottom, but not really overlapping each other. Top with the ricotta mixture (use a spoon and try to evenly spread it around-it doesn't have to be perfect), add a thin layer of mozzarella, sauce and then repeat. Top layer should be lasagna noodles, followed by sauce and then shredded mozzarella and a sprinkling of parmesan. Cover with foil, and to be safe and avoid overflow of mixture, put some foil on the shelf underneath the pan in the oven. Bake covered for about 30 minutes and then uncover and bake another 10-15 minutes. I usually do this on 325 instead of 350 degrees. Let the lasagna sit for at least 1/2 hour before cutting it. It always tastes better the next day-the flavors meld, the cheese firms up, etc.

If I am using jar sauce, I always simmer it for a little while before using it. Adding garlic, basil, a little sugar (to cut the bitterness), etc. I then let it cool a little before making the ziti/lasagna. The ziti is a little easier to make because there is no layering, but both recipes are good-I have been using this recipe for 15-20 years now.

4 comments:

DixieRedHead said...

There is nothing better than Italian food. I'm printing that puppy out. Thanks!

Brandy said...

This sounds yummy. Gonna give it a try tomorrow. Thanks!!

Susana said...

I love baked ziti, I'm definitely trying this recipe.

Stacy said...

Sounds yummy!! We'll try it next week. Thanks for remembering me!

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