Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cheesy Baked Ziti

This is a family favorite of ours.  It isn't difficult to make, but will taste like it took you all day to make.  Serve it with a side of breadsticks and a salad for a perfect meal.  

  • 1 lb of penne or rotini pasta
  • 2 lbs ricotta cheese
  • 1 small jar (14 oz = 1 3/4 cup) of spaghetti sauce
  • 1 can (14 oz) stewed tomatoes, blended in a blender or food processor
  • 1 can (14 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 lb mozzarella cheese, shredded (tastes better if you grate a block rather than buy a bag)

  1.  Cook the pasta.  While it is cooking, go ahead and shred the cheese.
  2. Strain the pasta.
  3. Pour the pasta into a LARGE bowl and mix with the ricotta.
  4. In the same pot you cooked the pasta (saves on dishes), gently cook the next 10 ingredients.  This just blends the flavors.  Cook med-high heat for about 10 minutes.
  5. Pour sauce over ricotta/pasta mixture and mix well.
  6. Put mixture in a 11X13 dish.  *It needs to be at least this big or slightly bigger!
  7. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese.
  8. Cover with aluminum foil ---I always put toothpicks in the pasta (sticking up where visible) to keep the aluminum foil from touching the cheese.  No one wants to scrape cheese off of the foil cover.
  9. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
  10. Remove the foil and Broil for 4 minutes.
  11. ENJOY!!!!

*Note:  For something extra special, toss in some pepperoni and call it a pizza pasta.  LOL

**Note:  You could eliminate the tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, and spices for a very large jar of spaghetti sauce, but it won't be as delicious.

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