Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Baked Ziti

Good Wednesday morning to you.  Boy is it ever windy here where I live!  I woke up to the door to our bedroom slamming shut at about 6:00 a.m. from the wind!
I have an easy and delicious recipe for you.  I was actually going to make stuffed shells last night, but I didn't feel like going to the store to get spinach, so I made baked ziti instead.  This is something I like to make if I am bringing a meal to someone, or feeding a crowd.  It is so good and comforting, and with a quick salad and crusty bread, you have a complete meal.  When I make it for us, I freeze half of it for later.
Here we go:  You will need a bag of ziti noodles or whatever kind of pasta you like.  I actually had the small penne type noodles, and I added a handful of spaghetti that I broke into pieces.  I prefer the pasta with ridges on it, because the sauce gets a good hold onto the pasta!!    A pound and half or so of lean ground beef, or ground turkey.  And I like to add sweet Italian sausage too, but I didn't have any this time. One large onion.  Minced garlic to your liking.  A large container of ricotta cheese.  Fresh mozarella, shredded parmesan,  pasta sauce, and spices.
 Sorry about the poor planning.  I had already started to cook when I decided to blog this recipe.  So dice an onion really small.  Get a skillet hot, add a splash of olive oil, and saute your onion and garlic.  I used a product I have never used before that I found at fresh & easy the other day.  It was individual packets of fresh minced garlic.  So convenient!  When onion is soft, add meats and brown thoroughly.  Season generously with salt and pepper.  Add your sauce of choice.  To this, add oregano, and basil if you like. 
Get your pasta going during this time too.  Simmer sauce long enough for pasta to cook.  Drain pasta, and reserve small amount of cooking water.   I often add a bit of the starchy water to the pasta dish before baking.
Spray a large, deep baking dish with a bit of Pam.  ( My beautiful Le Creuset baker was a gift from Genny and Jake and I use it ALL the time!)   Pour your sauce into the pot of drained pasta and mix.  Ladle some of the mixture into your pan.
Top this with dollops of ricotta cheese, fresh mozarella, and parmesan. Then ladle another layer of pasta onto this.
I do this two times.

Topping with a final layer of cheeses.  I usually reserve a bit of sauce to pour on top  of final layer before putting cheese on.  And if it seems at all dry, add some of the reserved starchy water that the pasta cooked in.
Looks good enough to eat already!  Put this COVERED into your 350 degree oven for about 44 minutes.
Then uncover dish, and return to oven for another 15 minutes for cheeses to melt and become brown and bubbly.  You can add garlic bread to oven at this time too.
Can you smell it yet?  Last night I just made a quick salad and sliced up a sourdough round.
This makes a very large dish of pasta.  You could easily scale this down to make a smaller version for a smaller family.  One year for Christmas gifts, I made this for my neighbors.  I put it in disposable foil trays with the nice domed lids, and wrapped it in pretty ribbon with directions for cooking, and a pretty Christmas tea towel.   Believe me.....during the busy holiday season, this is a very appreciated gift!!
Bon Appetit!

31 comments:

Heather - The Good Life said...

I love baked ziti and your recipe sounds really good. That is a great idea as a gift and very thoughtful. Hope you have a great day Kris. :-)

From the Kitchen said...

Hmm, should I do my post-vacation gym visits or just do this baked ziti and continue my delicious gluttony. Honestly, I think I'll do your dish and wait until January to worry about added pounds!

Best,
Bonnie

kpaints said...

Oh, boy, I wish I was a neighbor...that looks oh, so delicious!

Stacey said...

Hahahaha.. When I read your post title, I thought it said "Baked Zit".. I was like "ummmm what the heck?" lol.. Glad it was something yummy and delicious to look at :)

Pammy Sue said...

This looks wonderful! Thanks for the bday wishes.

Holly said...

Holy Cow! Baked ziti is one of my all time favorites. Did I mention I'm doing low carb? Drat!

by Teresa said...

Won't you be.. my neighbor! That was so nice of you to do that for your neighbors.. how many of them did you make? I bet you're popular!! I used to make a meal similar... but I made a sauce of cream cheese, milk and Worstershire and tossed the pasta with that, then layered the meat sauce, pasta and cheeses in a similar fashion. Yum! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Elaine @ Sunny Simple Life said...

Yum looks so good. Can I come over? So funny that we never get any wind. We drive up to my in laws and it is windy but here in Covina, no wind.

❀❀❀Ðαωᾔ❀❀❀ said...

Can you see me drooling from there. Everything looks so delicious, with Hubby gone it is soup and sandwiches around here.
We are having horrible wind here also. One good thing the laundry on the line dries quickly (if it stays in the same county) LOL
Have a wonderful evening:)

The Garden Bell said...

First, let me get this straight. The wind blew your door shut. That means you were able to sleep with the windows open. Jeeeeealllouuuus. We are closed up for the winter here, unless I sneek a door open at you know who leaves for work.

But, this looks like a great recipe to warm the tummies with this fall. Will have to keep this in mind. Oooops, better go stir the chili on the stove now...

Toodles and I love your noodles.

Lauri said...

Mmmm, thanks for the recipe. I love baked Ziti and this one looks especially delicious. Good idea to take to neighbors at Christmas time. I'll have to remember that.

laurie said...

YUMMO! looks like supper to me!!

annielizabeth said...

Looks delish and I'm starving right now. Here in the SG Vly it's just breezy so far today but nice and dry just like I like it! My parents used to live in Alta Loma at the base of the foothills and each year the wind would snap off a couple of rose trees and they would resemble tumble weeds going down the street. Boy, the wind sure can blow out there. Happy day to ya!

Nicolle said...

Oh gosh, now I want a Le Creuset baker. :) Your meal looks out of this world delicious. We rarely eat pasta around here. I wish we ate it more often.Yum Yum!

Val said...

Wow, this looks so amazing! Thanks for sharing this great recipe!

Debbie said...

Since I am still TRYING to diet (I am not doing very well..sigh) I guess I won't be trying this anytime soon. But it does look just WONDERFUL, and yes, I CAN smell it. A gal can dream can't she??

Jennifer said...

That looks amazing. I mean, AMAZING!! And I so love that gift idea - I am so using that idea...but I might have to taste the dish two (or five) times before I actually give it away to friends and neighbors! Yes.

Gloria said...

Kris this look delicious!!!! gloria

Janna said...

I've never NOT liked one of your recipes, and I love the idea of using it as a gift. Brilliant! I know what my neighbors are getting this year:) And I can't wait to make it for my family.

Rebecca P said...

That looks like such a yummy recipe, I will have to try it very soon since I love pasta.
Thank you for the recipe.

Jill said...

Loved baked ziti and I really love that dish! I've had it on my list for awhile to get one. Maybe santa will bring one this year :-)
Have a great week.

Blessings,
Jill

Pam said...

Wow this looks delicious! Thanks for sharing your recipes. Can't wait to try this one. It was very windy here today too. I think Fall may be arriving here soon! Thanks for the kind words of inspiration on my sewing and turning 50. I am healthy (for the most part) and happy and that is all that counts! I think we have a lot in common and I enjoy your blog! I will post pics when I get my apron finished. Have a great week!

Lemon Lane Cottage said...

Now that's comfort food! We are big pasta eaters here and I will definitely be giving this a try. Your right it looks like the perfect gift to take to a pot luck or a sick friend.

Prasetyo said...

I'm just blogwalking and stop here. Also, you has a great blog. Dont forget to visit me back. Thankyou.

corners of my life said...

The layers, the layers, the layers . . .

A perfect neighborly gift. They must love you.

Genn said...

I love your baked ziti.
Now I want some.

Did you see clover lanes post today about the cookbook she made on blurb????
YOU need to do that!!!!
I am going to do it one day.
What a NEAT and treasured family heirloom to be passed down the lines that would make. Check it out!

Lynn said...

Your meal looks delicious. And yes, I can smell it from here! Want some now!

Betsy said...

Yes, I can smell it just from looking at the pictures. Yum! This looks like the perfect comfort food for a cold fall night.

Grammy Staffy said...

Dear Kris,
I can smell it....yummy. When shall I come over and have a bite with you???? lol The wind we had played havoc with our pool. It found ever leave around to dump into it....except for the pile it left at our front door. It also blew a bunch of walnuts off of our tree. I do not like the wind!!!
Next Tues I am the key note speaker at the Women's Improvement Club luncheon on Main Street. They want me to tell my survival story. Let me know if you are free that day and would like to come. I would love to meet you.... of course we can get together any time. It doesn't have to be at the luncheon.
Thanks for the recipe. Hugs, Lura

Melissa said...

Yum, yum! That looks so delish! It's only breakfast time and I'm already thinking about dinner. I can't wait to try this!

Siobhan said...

This looks so good. I don't eat meat but my fiancée would love this...cheese, meat and noodles, he's sold!