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January Recipe Baked Ziti


INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound ziti

  • 3 tablespoons Garlic-Infused Oil, made with olive oil, or purchased equivalent, divided

  • 3/4 cup finely chopped scallions, green parts only

  • 1 pound ground beef, turkey, vegetarian crumbles or chicken

  • 2 cups marinara sauce

  • 1, 28- ounce can whole, peeled tomatoes in juice

  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, crushed

  • 1 teaspoon dried basil

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 1/2 pounds mozzarella (I recommend low fat), shredded and divided

  • 2 cups lactose-free cottage cheese

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

PREPARATION:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta until it is just shy of al dente. Drain well, rinse with water, drain again and set aside.

  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the Garlic-Infused Oil in a very large sauté pan over low-medium heat and add scallions. Sauté for a few minutes until softened. Add the ground meat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon and sauté until it is cooked through. Scrape into large mixing bowl.

  3. Return pan to heat and add 1 tablespoon of reserved oil, heating over low-medium heat, slip sausage out of casing and add to pan, break up sausage with a wooden spoon and continue to sauté until cooked through. Add meat and scallion mixture back to pan (save the dirty bowl for later). Add marinara sauce and whole tomatoes, smashing them with a wooden spoon to break them up. Stir everything together very well. Add fennel seed, basil, oregano and pepper flakes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool.

  4. Position rack in middle of oven. Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C. Coat a 13 by 9-inch (33 cm by 23 cm) deep casserole dish with nonstick spray.

  5. Place pasta and about two-thirds of the meat sauce in the large, previously used mixing bowl. In a small bowl whisk together half of the mozzarella, all of the cottage cheese and Parmesan, the eggs and parsley until combined. Season with salt and pepper, then fold into the pasta/sauce mixture until thoroughly combined. Scrape half of the pasta mixture into the prepared pan, top with half of the reserved sauce and half of the reserved cheese mixture, then layer up the remaining pasta mixture, the last of the sauce and the last of the mozzarella.

  6. Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes or until the filling is hot throughout and bubbling. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving - great with a green salad with a vinaigrette.

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