Sunday, January 3, 2016

Comfort Food Baked Ziti

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Comfort Food-Baked Ziti
Cook's notes: A simple homemade dish that's sure to please the whole family.  What's not to like about cheesy goodness that tastes a lot like lasagna but easier to assemble. It serves 6 and recipe adapted from cookingclassy.com 
My family loved it and next day leftovers tasted just as good as the first day. 
Ingredients:
  • 1-1/2 cup diced sweet onions
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 TB. olive oil
  • 1 lb. mild or hot sweet Italian sausage
  • 3/4 tsp. sugar
  • 1- 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1-14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes, garlic and basil
  • 1/3 cup packed fresh basil or 2 TB. dried basil
  • 2 TB. dried parsley, divided
  • 1 tsp. dried Italian seasonings
  • 1-15 oz. low fat or skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 large beaten egg
  • 1 package 12 oz. Italian Cheeses (mozzarella, Provolone, Romano, Asiago) 
  • 2/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 12 oz. dried zita pasta or whole wheat penne 
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray with cooking spray 13 x 9 baking dish or 3 qt. size dish. Set aside.
  • In a deep skillet heat oil and saute onions for 2 minutes, add in garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add in sausage, cook meat and use a fork to break meat up. Move meat/onion mixture to side of pan and wipe pan clean with a paper towel. 
  • Stir in crushed tomatoes, petite tomatoes, sugar, 1 TB parsley flakes, 2 TB. basil and 1 tsp. Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil on low heat and simmer 15 minutes.
  • Cook pasta in boiling water al dente and drain.
  • In a mixing bowl add beaten egg, ricotta cheese, 1 TB parsley flakes and 1 -1/2 cups Italian cheeses and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Mix well.
  • Spread 1-1/3 cups red sauce on bottom, 1/2 of the cooked pasta and large spoonfuls of ricotta cheese. Slightly flatten ricotta cheese mixture over pasta. 
  • Spoon remaining sauce over pasta layer. Sprinkle top evenly with 1-1/2 cups Italian cheeses and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
  • Tent baking dish with foil and bake 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake 10 minutes longer.
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