Thursday, February 12, 2009

Baked Ziti

Ahh yes. Mikes FAVORITE meal! It all began with The Sopranos.. and it tured into my sister saying "If he isnt careful with that ziti, he'll LOOK like Tony Soprano!!" because it was ALL Mike wanted to eat. So, as last night was his birthday, I made his favorite for him... From scratch.. after a long, long, long day. THATS love.. ooey gooey cheesy love.

Baked Ziti
Tomato Sauce:

1/3 cup olive oil ( I just do 3 swirls around the pan)

4-6 cloves garlic, smashed

1 28 oz can diced tomatoes

2 14 oz cans stewed tomatoes

1/4 cup dried basil

1 tsp dried thyme

1/3 cup dry red wine

1 tsp salt

black pepper to taste


1 lb dried ziti

3/4 cup ricotta cheese

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/4 cup fresh parsley

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

3.5 cups shredded mozzerela cheese, divided


In a heavy pot, saute the garlic in oilve oil over medium heat until cloves turn golden brown. remove the garlic & discard.


Place diced tomatoes & 1 can of stewed tomatoes in a processor or blender. Pulse until corsely chopped. Pour into the pot with the remaining can of tomatoes ( I personally like to give the second can a little chopping too, the stewed tomatoes are too big for my taste, or use a can of smaller already chopped tomatos)

Add basil, thyme, pepper. Bring to a boil. Add the wine & continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring often . Reduce heat to low & simmer 30 minutes.





Cook the ziti according to directions, but reduce cooking time by 1-2 minutes ( use your own judgement here, no one likes crunchy pasta, but no one likes it mushy either!!)




Drain, but dont rinse.


Return to pot & add a small amount of sauce, toss to keep from sticking.





In a small bowl, combine ricotta cheese, egg, parsley & 1/4 cup parm. cheese with a 1/2 cup of the mozz. cheese. I usually shred my own cheese, it tastes better & doesnt have the chemicals that keeps the shreds from clumping, however.. I had a long day yesterday.. so I used pre shredded.



Coat a large casserole or baking dish with non stick spray ( I use EVOO spray). Place half the pasta in dish. I use a large mug, its roughly equaly to about 2 cups. Or, a regular sized mug, is about 1 cup. Drop cheese mixture by the spoonful over the top of the pasta.
Pour about 2 cups of the sauce over the pasta. Add remaining pasta



pour 2 more cups of sauce over pasta.




Top with the remaining parm & mozz cheese.






Bake 35-40 minutes in a preheated 350 oven.












((((((drool)))))






Eat lots & lots of left overs!!

6 comments:

  1. That looks really yummy! I'm going to have to give it a try!

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  2. Ya know, our ziti nights began because of Sopranos, too! I was so bummed when it ended, because it was the best excuse to have huge family dinners and watch the show. Luckily, the tradition stuck, and my hubby is a ziti freak as well. I just did a portobello mushroom version I should have up soon.

    Best Christmas gift ever...the Sopranos Family Cookbook...total blast!

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  3. I am so making this next week, man that looks good!!

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  4. Love your step by step photos! You make it look so easy!!

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  5. There should be a law against posting photos like that.

    Oh Dear Lord, I MUST have some!

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  6. Loved the slide show, step-by-step - great dinner. You never said who ate all the leftovers.

    I couldn't help but think...with all that cheese, are you guys 'stopped up' for a couple of days!?! :) [If Trish sees this comment, she'll now label me The Poop Police, ha. My only title so far being one of The Grammar Police, along w/ Christy - The Write Gal. Well, I can say candidly, being on the squad of either patrol, we're dealing w/ shit constantly! *smile*]

    Your writing is a gas, Claire (ok, pun intended).

    Signed: Livin' on the Edge - I'm one fart away from my brains being blown out completely!

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