Baked Ziti is real comfort food. The smell of this dish baking warms the home for the entire family and your guests plus it is just plain delicious. Baked ziti is great for potlucks. Ziti noodles usually have a bigger diameter and the ends are cut straight across. Penne is usually a little narrower and the ends are cut diagonally. For this recipe use either noodle with no problem. You can add one pound of cooked Italian sausage if you like.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 4 ounce tomato paste
- 8 ounce tomato sauce
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp basil
- 1/2 tsp sage
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 15 ounce Ricotta Cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese grated
- 1 pound dry ziti pasta cooked
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter 9 x 13 baking dish.
Cook the pasta in a large of boiling water. Drain and set aside.
Heat oil and sauté onion, garlic, and herb for 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and tomato sauce, cook 2 minutes then add seasoning. Simmer about 10 minutes.
Combine1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Add ricotta cheese, egg, and 3/4-cup mozzarella cheese.
Spread 1/4-cup sauce over the bottom of the baking dish. Layer 1/3 of the pasta over sauce. Drop half the cheese mixture in spoonfuls over pasta, then layer with another 1/4 of the sauce. Repeat layering with pasta, cheese and sauce. Spread remaining sauce over the top layer and sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese on top.
Cover dish with foil or a cover and bake about 45 minutes. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes and serve.
If you want to make this a little faster and easier you can use store-bought pasta sauce, as used in step 2 then proceed as before. This is an excellent dinner easy to make and very satisfying. If you like, you can make the recipe as directed but place in ramekins. This way you can prepare what you need for a meal today and freeze the rest for another day. Cover with foil and place in a zip lock freezer bag and then freeze.