Friday, October 3, 2008

Baked Ziti

I often find myself cooking for a big group of people. If it's not my huge wonderful family, then it's my gang of fabulous friends. This recipe is perfect because it feeds a lot of people, it's quick and easy to prepare, it doesn't cost a lot of money, and everyone loves it. It seems that most people love a hearty pasta dish, so this is sort of the 'go to' dish when you're not sure what your guests would like. It's also meatless, so it's perfect if any of your guests are vegetarian. Oh, and did I mention that it's delicious?? Seriously.

1 lb. cut ziti (or other cut pasta)
16 oz container ricotta cheese
1 egg
Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
Your favorite homemade or jarred tomato sauce
shredded mozzarella cheese

Boil ziti in a large pot of salted water until tender, but still slightly firm. Drain. Set aside. In the meantime, in a large bowl, place ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, parsley and salt and pepper. Stir until well combined. Now it's time to assemble. In a large casserole dish, place half the pasta. Spoon some tomato sauce over it, then the ricotta cheese mixture. Next add the rest of the pasta, more tomato sauce , then top with mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil and bake in a 350F oven for 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese.

If you'd like to make it extra gooey, then feel free to add a few handfuls of shredded mozzarella cheese over the ricotta cheese mixture. Then continue as directed with the second layer of pasta, etc. More is more!
I didn't list the amounts of some of the ingredients because I don't measure them. Mom always said to add it "til it's enough". It makes sense, wouldn't you say? You'll be able to tell if it needs more sauce or more cheese. It all depends on how much you like!

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