Monday, August 3, 2015

Baked Ziti

It’s never a bad day when I offer Baked Ziti as a Sunday dinner. When the weather is warm and we want a light Baked Ziti, we accommodate with the amazing Cluck ‘n Moo beef and chicken ground combination. The rich meat flavor comes through with less fat when they add the chicken to the mix. It works beautifully for this quick and easy “slow” cooked meat sauce.

Baked Ziti
by Susan R-H

1 pound ziti, cooked according to package directions
2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, medium dice
4 cloves garlic, finely diced
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 pounds Cluck ‘n Moo Ground
2 32-ounce jars of your favorite Marinara (I prefer Rao’s)
Salt and pepper
2 pounds ricotta cheese
2/3 cup grated Romano cheese
2 eggs lightly beaten
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
8 ounces grated mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup grated Romano cheese

Cook the ziti according to the package directions to al dente. Drain and rinse well with cold water. This is one time, you do not want the starchy water to stick around. In a Dutch oven or large deep skillet, heat the olive oil at medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30-45 seconds. Stir in the basil and oregano. Give them a minute to become fragrant. (As much as I love fresh herbs, dried herbs work so much better in this type of preparation.) Increase the heat to medium-high and add the Cluck ‘n Moo. As the meat cooks, break it up to cook through. Add the marinara sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat back to medium and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, grated Romano, eggs, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in the ziti. In a 13 x 9 baking dish, ladle 1/2 of the meat sauce. Spoon the ziti/cheese mixture on top of the sauce and press down to cover the dish. Add the rest of the meat sauce, covering the ziti. Mix the mozzarella and Romano cheese and top the ziti and sauce. Bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes.

We typically serve Baked Ziti with a colorful fresh salad of mixed greens and our favorite Italian vinaigrette, along with buttery baked garlic bread. The options are endless!

1 comment:

  1. I've never had baked ziti before and your recipe looks super easy to make. Pinned to save and share.