Baked Ziti

Zach felt like cooking Italian tonight for dinner to go along with our amazing garlic from the Gilroy Garlic Festival.  Because of the nature of this dish, we recommend that you make it with lots of leftover lunch in mind or invite some family and friends over, because this serves a lot.

Makes 8-10 servings

48 oz. of peeled, diced tomatoes

1 lb. of fresh ricotta cheese

1 lb. of penne rigate pasta

12 oz. of shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 lb. of ground beef

1/2 lb. of ground pork

1 1/2 cup of diced white onion

1 cup of finely diced carrot

1 cup of Merlot wine

3/4 cup of finely diced celery

1/2 cup of shredded parmesan cheese, divided in 1/4 cups

4 oz. of sliced mushrooms

1 egg, beaten

2 tbs. of olive oil, divided

1 tbs. of minced garlic

1 tbs. of tomato paste

2 tsp. of dried basil

1 tsp. of cracked black pepper

1 tsp. of dried oregano

Cook the pasta according to package instructions and drain.  Set aside.

browning the meat

browning the meat

Add 1 tbs. of olive oil to a medium pot and heat the oil over high heat.  Add the ground meats; cook and brown, which takes about 6-8 minutes, and add the garlic to the meat during the last minute.  Remove the meat from the pot with a slotted spoon, put it in a bowl, and set aside.

cooking down mushrooms

cooking down mushrooms

Add the remaining olive oil to the pot, then add the diced onion, carrot, and celery.  Reduce the heat to medium and saute the vegetables for 10 minutes.  Add the mushrooms, and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

the flavors getting married

the flavors getting married

After cooking the mushrooms with the other vegetables, add the peeled, diced tomatoes, meat, Merlot, tomato paste, black pepper, basil, and oregano to the large pot.  Cook for 20 minutes over low heat to marry all the ingredients and help break down the tomatoes.

mixing in the cheese

mixing in the cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large bowl, mix the prepared pasta with all but 1 1/2 cups of the meat sauce, all the ricotta cheese, roughly 2/3 of the shredded mozzarella, 1/4 cup of parmesan, and the beaten egg.  Spread into a baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.

layering sauce

layering sauce

Spread the remaining 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce over the top of the pasta.

sprinkle parmesan, then mozzarella

sprinkle parmesan, then mozzarella

Sprinkle the rest of the parmesan and mozzarella.  Loosely cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes; remove the foil and bake 10 minutes more.

baked ziti

baked ziti

Posted on July 28, 2013, in Recipes and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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