Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Oven-baked Ziti With Three Cheeses

I made this on Sunday and popped it in the refrigerator to cook last night. I was supposed to have a late night at work but I had a cancellation so I got home much earlier than anticipated. And I didn't have to make dinner since it was already assembled! All I had to do was pop it in the oven. Easy peasy! It was very yummy. We have some leftovers that I plan to consume in the near future. Very good. I would definitely make this again.


Oven-baked Ziti With Three Cheeses
CLBB (ErinM)
via Bon Appetit 1992

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion -- chopped
2 large garlic cloves -- chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 can tomato sauce -- (8 ounce)
1 cup water
1 teaspoon dried oregano -- crumbled
1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 container ricotta cheese -- (15 ounce)
1 egg
8 ounces mozzarella cheese -- grated
12 ounces Freshly Cooked Ziti or Other Tubular Pasta

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic and fennel seeds and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Mix in tomato paste and cook 1 minute. Add tomato sauce, water, oregano and sage. Simmer until mixture thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 450°F. Butter 9x13-inch glass baking dish. In medium bowl combine ricotta cheese and egg. Reserve 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese for topping. Add remaining mozzarella to ricotta cheese mixture and blend. Season with salt and pepper.

Spread 1/4 of tomato sauce over bottom of prepared dish. Layer 1/3 of pasta over. Drop half of ricotta cheese mixture over by spoonfuls. Spread 1/4 of sauce over. Repeat layering with another 1/3 of pasta, remaining cheese mixture, 1/4 of sauce and remaining pasta. Spread remaining sauce over and sprinkle with reserved mozzarella and remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Cover casserole and bake until heated through, about 40 minutes.

Yield: 6 servings

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