This post was originally posted after a trip to Rome with my daughters. It is a great “go to” staple especially when you have a lot of people coming over. I was having some family for Chanukah but Joel asked if we could make it Italian food instead of the usual Chanukah fare and I must still be in my Roman state of mind so I agreed and this is how I did it. I started with my Turkey Bolognese sauce. ( Look up Turkey Bolognese on my blog ) . This is much easier than lasagna, and I made Bolognese sauce the day before assembling baked ziti. I also put the Bolognese sauce over some shredded zucchini in addition to baked ziti for those who wanted lighter fare. Then I followed the rest of the directions for my baked ziti. You can make this meatless by using marinara sauce of your choice. This is a perfect satisfying Sunday Dinner, and great for a crowd. A cheesy comforting meal if ever there was one. So here’s to an Italian Chanukah! Happy Chanukah everyone!
Ingredients: for baked ziti
(turkey bolognese is a separate recipe)
1 lb . Ziti or ziti type pasta I actually used tortiglioni noodles
1 15 oz. tub of Whole Milk Ricotta or Part Skim ( not fat free)
1 1/2 lb. Mozzarella Cheese, Grated
1/2 cups Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 whole egg
Turkey Bolognese Sauce or any other sauce you prefer ( I used my recipe and it yielded enough sauce for Baked Ziti and Zucchini)
Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a bowl mix together the ricotta cheese, 2 cups of the grated Mozzarella, Parmesan, egg and salt and pepper. Stir ingredients together until just combined.
Cook the pasta and cool it off slightly. I make it al dente because you will be cooking again, don’t overcook the pasta . Pour the pasta into the bowl with cheese mixture and toss to slightly combine. Add the cooled meat sauce and toss to combine.
Spray your casserole dish with Pam and spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of your pan first. Add half the coated pasta to your casserole dish. Spoon some remaining sauce over the top, then top with half the remaining mozzarella cheese, Repeat with another layer of the coated pasta, the sauce and the remaining mozzarella. I baked it for about 1/2 hour or until bubbling and cheese is melted. Remove from oven and let stand a few minutes before serving.
* I do it in 2 layers but you can do it in one big layer and just top with cheese, I just give it more cheese this way. Your call. No wrong or right way with this recipe.
*this recipe will nicely serve 8 – 10 people. I didn’t double it but you can easily. I served alongside my Italian Salad and shredded zucchini with Bolognese. Perfect!