Monday, June 10, 2013

ATK's Ultimate Baked Ziti

Here's another recipe from America's Test Kitchen. I love their recipes because they've already done all the research and worked out the kinks of each new recipe. In this case, the goal was to make the ultimate baked ziti, and by ultimate, I mean CHEESIEST! Seriously, I think this is the cheesiest baked ziti I've ever tasted. It's awesome! I made it for AJ and Kelsie when they came over for dinner one night, and it was a big hit! Serve it with a salad, some garlic bread and tall glass of iced tea, and there's your fabulous Sunday dinner!

2 tbs olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 28oz can tomato sauce
1 14oz can diced tomatoes
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper

1 lb cut ziti
3/4 tsp corn starch
1 cup heavy cream
2 eggs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more
1 lb whole milk cottage cheese
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella, plus more

Heat oven to 350F.

Place garlic and olive oil in a cold pan. Slowly saute over medium heat, but don't brown. Add tomato sauce, tomatoes, and oregano. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in basil, sugar, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Meanwhile, boil the ziti in 4 qts of salted water for 5 minutes.
drain. Set aside.

 In a large bowl, whisk corn starch together with the cream. Pour it into a large pot over medium heat until it thickens. Meanwhile. in a large bowl, whisk the eggs, Parmesan cheese, and cottage cheese. Remove pot from the burner and add the cheese mixture to the thickened cream, along with mozzarella cheese and 1 cup of the cooked tomato sauce.
Now add the partially cooked ziti and stir until well coated. Pour pasta into a 9x13 pan, then pour the remaining tomato sauce over the top. Sprinkle the top with more mozzarella and more Parmesan. Cover with foil. Bake at for 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake for another 30 minutes.

Instead of using heavy cream, you can use whole milk, but increase corn starch to 2 tsp.
At first, it may seem like there is too much sauce, but use all of it anyway. In fact, I would probably add a little more than just the one cup to the cheese mixture. The pasta will continue to absorb the liquid as it bakes, and you don't want it to come out too dry.

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