Baked Ziti

2 Mar
We’ve been watching a lot of The Sopranos lately, via the wonders of Netflix, and it always makes me want some Baked Ziti.  I’ve made baked pastas before, but never a ziti, so I decided to give it a shot.  (The ironic thing is that I ended up making it on the day that we ended up watching the finale, so kinda fitting in a dorky way!)  Anyway, I had kinda thought to just wing it, but then I saw this recipe in Annie’s Eats and figured I’d just use this as Annie never steers anyone wrong.  Well, I’m not gonna lie – I totally spaced when I was grocery shopping and got ricotta instead of cottage cheese.  The day I planned on making it I was reading through the comments about Ricotta vs. Cottage Cheese and I debated stopping at the store to pick up some cottage cheese but I ended up out of time so I just went with the ricotta.  The adaption of Ricotta over Cottage Cheese was still great, though I will one day try the original version. 

Baked Ziti

Ingredients:
1 lb. part-skim Ricotta
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 oz. grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 cups), divided
Table salt
1 lb. ziti
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
20 oz. turkey Italian sausage
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
5 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 (28 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil leaves, divided
1 tsp. sugar
Ground black pepper
3/4 tsp. cornstarch
1 cup heavy cream (or whole milk)
8 oz. low-moisture mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
 
Directions:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F. Whisk cottage cheese, eggs, and 1 cup Parmesan together in a medium bowl; set aside. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Stir in 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta; cook until pasta begins to soften but is not yet cooked through, 5-7 minutes. Drain the pasta and leave in colander.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Crumble in the turkey sausage and cook until nearly browned. Add in the onion and garlic and continue to cook until the onion is softened and the sausage is completely browned. Stir in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and oregano; simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Off the heat, stir in 1/2 cup basil and the sugar, and season with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl stir together the cornstarch and heavy cream. Transfer the mixture to the now-empty stockpot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, 3-4 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and add the cottage cheese mixture, 1 1/2 cups of the tomato sauce and 3/4 cup mozzarella. Stir to combine. Add the pasta and toss to coat thoroughly with the sauce.

Transfer the pasta to a 9×13″ baking dish and spread the remaining tomato sauce evenly over the top. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan over the top. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the foil from the pan and continue to cook until the cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown, about 30 minutes longer. Cool for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons basil and serve.

Source: Adapted from Annie’s Eats, as adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, March & April 2009

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2 Responses to “Baked Ziti”

  1. Kat 03/03/2010 at 2:09 am #

    This looks soo good. I have never had ziti before but have always wanted to make it! Great blog! I just started one as well, hopefully you can stop by!

  2. ashley 03/04/2010 at 3:38 pm #

    i love baked ziti! and the sopranos always made me want some too 🙂 love that show! i miss it! looks good!

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