May 30, 2011

Baked Ziti

baked ziti

Baked Ziti with cottage cheese instead of ricotta and using a white sauce along with the red sauce. I use this recipe for trips to places that have an oven as I freeze it in an aluminum pan. I have even packed it in luggage frozen.

Baked Ziti
1 pound of cottage cheese
2 large eggs lightly beaten
3 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup of finely chopped parsley
1 pound of ziti pasta or other pleasing shape
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 garlic cloves pushed through a garlic press
1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 14.5 ounce can of tomato sauce
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of dried marjoram
1 teaspoon sugar
black pepper to taste
1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves or 1 teaspoon of dried
3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces of mozzarella cheese shredded or cut into cubes

Preheat oven to 350 F
Mix together the cottage cheese, eggs, parsley and 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese and set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to boil then add pasta and cook until just underdone. Drain pasta in colander and set aside.
In another pot or large skillet heat oil and add garlic and cook until fragrant but not brown. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, spices, sugar and pepper. Cook until slightly thickened about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and add the fresh basil. If using the dried basil add with the oregano in the first stage of the sauce.
Mix the cornstarch and heavy cream together in the empty dutch oven bring to simmer and cook until thickened. Remove from heat and add the cottage cheese mixture, 1 cup of sauce and 3/4 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Stir to combine. Add the pasta and stir until coated.
Pour into a 13x9 baking dish. Spread the remaining sauce over top and sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes then remove foil and bake for another 30 minutes until bubbly and browned. Let cool slightly before serving.

Note: I sometimes add 1 pound of meat to my ziti by precooking and slicing Italian sausage or meatballs cut in half or quarters depending on their size.

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