Source: My Sister
I think you’ll find that Baked Ziti is a lovely recipe. Traditionally, baked ziti is a wonderfully warm baked up version of pasta. As always, pasta tossed together with generous amounts of a nice hearty bolognese, and topped with cheese. But this dish goes a step further. The coated ziti is then heated in the oven, just long enough to melt the cheese and bring all the creamy flavors together. If you comb around on the internet, you’ll find many loose translations of this recipe. It’s been converted to a lasagna in some recipes, and has even been called a casserole!
To simplify and not confuse, ziti is a pasta noodle which size wise, is a bit smaller than rigatoni. It has lines down it, giving a nice texture to the noodle. The name “ziti” is translated in Italian to mean “groom” and originally, ziti was over 18″ long. Why would you ever call a noodle a groom? I’m not sure. But I’m not one to question Italian tradition. My feelings on the invention of the baked ziti dish, was to offer something “new and improved” to the pasta menu. It’s a lovely idea. Al-dente pasta, mixed with a nice bolognese, put in a baking dish and topped with cheese. The ziti bakes, the cheese melts and as a nice treat, you can or cannot top with nice buttery rich bread crumbs as a nice finale.
In conclusion, the main story here is that my sister makes this dish all the time and has been infinity happy with it for a while now. It’s easy, its simple, and it’s a wonderful variation to offer your hungry family. Therefore, just honor the Italian tradition and don’t refer to it as a ‘casserole’.
- 1 lb pasta ziti, penne, or another shell pasta that you might like
- 1 1/2 cups cheese I used tilsiter, but opt for mozzarella, ricotta, etc.
- 1/2 cup ricotta
- 2 large eggs
- 4 cups tomato sauce I used my quick sauce in the vitamix, otherwise, use a hearty bolognese with meat
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- 2 TBS butter melted for bread crumbs
- In a large stock pot, get water started for the boiling process cook noodles when water is boiling, cook for directed amount of time, drain, set aside.
- Shred your cheese
- Beat your eggs and cheese mixture together, set aside until pasta is cooked and drained
- Add and stir your cooked pasta to the egg/cheese mixture until well coated.
- Next, have your sauce ready. In my case, this was the easy sauce which included 2 cans of tomatoes, a drizzle of olive oil, a clove or 2 of garlic, 3-4 sprigs of rosemary, a few pinches of salt. Blend in vitamix.
- Add your tomato sauce to egg/cheese combo. Stir until well combined.
- Pour mixture into a nice oiled baking dish. Top with melted butter/bread crumbs, and rest of cheese.
- Bake @ 180 Celsius until nice and browned, about 25 minutes
- Serve and enjoy