Monday, March 02, 2009

Recipe: Baked Ziti

As far as I know, this is the sort of dish people just make without referring to a recipe. I suspect there are variations on it, just as there are with chili or stews. The hard way, of course, is to make the tomato/spaghetti sauce from scratch.

That's great in summer when you can either pick vine-ripened romas from your garden, or buy them from a local farmer or at a grocery store. This time of year, however, grocery store tomatoes are pretty tasteless, so I use a commercial jarred spaghetti sauce.

Yield: 2-3 servings
Time: 15 minutes prep; 45-60 minutes at 350F

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup of dry ziti, or a little more if you use fresh
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup of spaghetti sauce
  • 3/4 to 1 cup of shredded mozzarella
Method:
  1. Cook the pasta according to directions
  2. Meanwhile, shred the cheese, and spread out a layer of sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Cover it with a layer of the shredded cheese.
  3. Drain the pasta, and arrange a layer of it in the dish on top of the cheese
  4. Add another layer of sauce, and another layer of cheese
  5. Top with more pasta, and layer on more sauce, and a final layer of cheese
  6. Cover the baking dish with foil if it doesn't have its own cover
  7. Bake for about 45-60 minutes at 350F, until it smells done, and is all bubbly
  8. Let cool for a few minutes before serving
Notes:
  1. I prefer to remove the foil or lid for the last 15 minutes to allow the cheese to brown a little bit.
  2. You may want to place your baking dish in a drip tray or on a cookie sheet if it's really full. I have had the tomato sauce bubble over the sides a time or two, and my oven is not "self-cleaning."
  3. The baking dish I used here is only 6" diameter, across the inside rim, to give you an idea of scale. However, this recipe scales up very nicely to a regular sized casserole dish.
  4. I have, in a pinch, made this with rigatoni, a large sized macaroni, or even fusili (broken into 2" lengths). Most likely, anything tubular would do fine, if you run out of ziti, as long as it's not big enough to stuff, like manicotti.

1 comment:

Sophie said...

Simple yet it looks so TASTY!!! MMMM....