Sunday, July 10, 2011

Baked "Ziti"

 We had some prepared tomato sauce in the house that we needed to use ASAP, so we decided to go with a baked ziti. Technically I didn't use ziti to make this, but rather penne (actually, GF penne). I can't honestly imagine that it makes any difference. I think you could also make it with rotini or shells if that's what you have in the house.

My husband isn't a fan of ricotta, so we I used this recipe as my basis, but made some changes based on convenience and what I had in the house. 

Oh, and if you're a fan of baked pasta but like a bit more veggies in there, I can give you a little teaser that my mom's recipe for baked pasta with spinach should make an appearance in the near future.

Baked "Ziti" 

Ingredients (for 6-8 portions): 

- 1 pound (about 500 grams) short pasta: ziti or penne is best, but other shapes can work. 

- about 3 cups of tomato sauce (I make a really simple one by taking a can of crushed tomatoes and seasoning it with salt, pepper, chili powder, oregano and garlic powder, but you can use store bought or make your favorite). 

- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese 

- 1/4-1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 

- about 1/2 lbs (250 grams) fresh mozzarella (either a large chunk or little balls), diced. 

- Seasoning: salt, pepper, chili flakes. 


- Preheat oven to 400 F/ 200 C. Prepare pasta according to instructions until just al dente, then drain and wash under cold water to cool down a little. 

- In a large bowl, mix the pasta with the tomato sauce, half of the parmesan, half of the shredded mozzarella and half of the fresh mozzarella cubes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and chili flakes. 

- Take a large baking dish (9X13 inches, 22X32 cm, more or less) and oil it with oil spray. Fill the dish with the pasta mixture. Sprinkle the mozzarella cubes over the top of the pasta, then top with the rest of the parmesan and the rest of the shredded mozzarella.
- Bake uncovered in the hot oven for about 30 minutes, until the top of the pasta is crispy and the cheese is golden and bubbling. Serve piping hot. 

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