Baked Ziti..yummy. I was somewhat hesitant of making this dish for dinner this week since we were up in Door County over the weekend and I had this amazing homemade vegetarian manicotti. I thought I don’t know if this is even going to compare. What if this is another flop boring pasta dish? Why should I doubt my fav food blog Mel’s Kitchen Cafe? Angela you silly girl. This pasta was amazing. You could tell the sauce was not out of a jar but a mommy’s labor of love 😉
Hubby takes one bite and I am like what do you rate it huh? huh? huh? Slow down there missy. He informs me part of the rating is the whole meal experience – does it make him come back wanting more? Is he going to eat so much he is going to feel sick? I will reiterate what hubby said. He is not much of a pasta guy. His favorite pasta dish is the Tortellini with jerk Chicken from The Little Village Cafe which he would rate a 10. He gave my Baked Ziti dish a 9 for a pasta dish! A 9 people that is high scorer…this will make some kiddos tummy very happy…and hubbies.
You should have leftovers….if you don’t I won’t judge. I am just sayin’ though…they make great leftovers.
- 1lb cottage cheese
- 2 Large eggs
- 1 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1lb ziti or pene pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 Medium garlic cloves (minced)
- 1 28 ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 8oz shredded mozzarella cheese
|Preheat oven to 350 degrees. |
Whisk the cottage cheese, eggs and 1 cup of the parmesan cheese together in a medium bowl; set aside.
Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in large pot. Stir in salt and pasta. Cook for about 7 minutes - until past begins to soften but not fully cooked. The pasta will finish cooking in the oven.
Drain pasta and leave in colander. Do NOT wash the large pot we will be using later on.
|While the pasta is cooking heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic cook until fragrant about 2 minutes. |
Stir in tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, oregano, basil and sugar. Simmer until thickened about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper
|Stir cornstarch into heavy cream and transfer mixture to the now empty large pot you cooked the pasta in. Set the pot over medium heat. |
Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened 3-4 minutes.
Remove pot from heat and add cottage cheese mixture, 1 cup of the simmered tomato sauce and half the mozzarella cheese. Stir to combine.
Add pasta and stir to coat pasta well.
|Transfer mixture to a greased 9x13 baking dish. |
Spread remaining tomato sauce evenly over the pasta.
Sprinkle remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese over the top.
Cover the baking dish with foil that has been lighly sprayed with cooking spray and bake for 30 minutes.
|Remove foil and cook for another 30 minutes - until cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown. |
Cool for 10 minutes. Serve and Enjoy!
I also want to note I use Organic Muir Glen brand for my tomatoes. I love their taste….and personally think they make it extra tasty.
recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe – she also notes on her website what a GREAT freezer meal this makes. Which then makes a great meal to make for a family that may appreciate a homemade meal
*Freezable Meal: Prepare recipe right up until the baking step and then cover with a double layer of aluminum foil. Freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. To bake, increase baking time to 1 hour and 15 minutes, with the final 30 minutes baking the dish uncovered as stated in the initial recipe. If baking from frozen, bake covered for 1 hour and 30 minutes, uncover and bake 30 minutes longer.