That said, I'm back!
I'm ashamed to admit that, although I am half Italian, I had no idea how to make baked ziti. I really enjoy baked ziti, but we rarely had it growing up. I can tell you how to make about a zillion other Italian specialties, but not baked ziti...
Apart from being a dish that seemed to be simple and served a lot of people (or had plenty of leftovers to enjoy), baked ziti is a great meal to prepare and give to someone when they are sick/just had a baby/homebound/etc. I also understand it freezes well. I inquired of several of my friends how to make it. One of my friends prepared a GREAT meal of baked ziti a few weeks ago, while yet another gifted me 2 (COUNT IT - 2!) trays of baked ziti this past August when my daughter was born. Both times, I was extremely appreciative of the effort!
After getting feedback from my friends and scouring the internet for recipes, I found that almost all baked ziti recipes are simple and pretty much the same. It goes to show just what I've been missing all these years! It's so simple, I'm almost embarrassed!
I prepared baked ziti last week, and it was awesome! I couldn't believe just how simple it was. Since only my hubby and I were eating, we froze the leftovers (which we plan to pull out and eat this week). So I will share with you this recipe, which really lives up to the name "Simple Supper!"
Simple Supper Mondays
- 1 lb (1 box) ziti pasta
- 1 jar of prepared tomato sauce
- 15-16oz of Ricotta Cheese
- 2 cups shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
1) Cook pasta according to package directions, drain.
2) While pasta is cooking, combine sauce, ricotta cheese, and 1 1/2 cups Mozzarella cheese in a mixing bowl. When pasta is done/drained, combine with the cheese/sauce mixture. Top with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.
3) Spread into 9x13-inch baking pan. Bake at 350º for 25-30 minutes. (My friend Jen advises to make sure the center is cooked by sticking a knife in and seeing if it is hot to the touch).
1) You can really be creative with what goes into the cheese/sauce mixture. I chopped up 2 plum tomatoes and added them to the cheese/sauce mixture. My friend Heather adds meatballs. Some other additions to consider: minced or roasted garlic, veggies (Broccoli? Spinach? Zucchini - be sneaky and make it healthy!), parmesean cheese, crumbled ground beef/turkey. The sky is the limit!
2) With my oven, I needed to cook the ziti for closer to 35-40 minutes.
3) I might advise using 1 1/2 jars of spaghetti sauce, as mine could have used a little more sauce. Use the remaining 1/2 jar for serving the ziti or save it for a completely different recipe (my favorite use for tomato sauce is for dipping crusty bread. Mmmmmm).
Happy eating this week! Enjoy the beautiful Spring weather (if that is what is outside your window. If not, don't give up hope for sunnier skies!)
PLEASE send me your Simple Supper recipes to share with the rest of the community! firstname.lastname@example.org