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Baked Ziti

There is nothing that our family loves more than a hearty bowl of pasta on a rainy or cloudy day! This Baked Ziti recipe is one that is on our monthly meal planner. I finally came up with a Ziti recipe that is the pitch perfect blend of ingredients with just the right amount of creamy saltiness.

 

Baked Ziti – Final Bake

 



First, preheat oven to 350.  Fill a large pot with water (about 4 quarts) and 1 tablespoon of salt then bring to a boil. Once water comes to a boil add pasta. Cook for about 4 minutes.  The pasta should be slightly softened but NOT cooked all of the way through. Drain pasta in the sink and leave in the colander.

 

 

Now, add the cottage cheese, eggs (or aquafaba if there are egg allergies), and 1 cup of Parmesan to a medium bowl. Whisk the ingredients together then set aside for now.

 

 

Heat the skillet to medium and add non-stick cooking spray to the skillet. Once heated add the Italian sausage and diced onion to the skillet and cook.

 

Once there is only a little of the meat that is still not cooked add the minced garlic to the pan.

 

When the garlic starts to toast slightly, about 3 minutes, stir in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and oregano. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 – 25 minutes. It should have thickened up by the end of the simmering time.

 

Remove meat and sauce mixture from burner. Now stir in 1/2 of basil and sugar then season with salt and pepper to taste. I never have to add salt however I do always add 1/8 tsp of ground black pepper. Just add the quantities of salt and pepper that suit your family’s tastes.

 

Add heavy whipping cream and cornstarch to a small bowl and mix. Once mixed transfer the mixture to the pot that you used to boil the pasta in. Bring it to a simmer and cook until it is thickened, about 3 – 4 minutes. 

 

In a large bowl add the cottage cheese mixture, 1 cup of the meat and tomato sauce mixture, and 3/4 cup of mozzarella.

 

Add the pasta to the now combined mixture and toss all together.

 

Transfer the pasta to the 9×13 inch baking dish.  

 

Spread the remaining meat and tomato sauce evenly over the top of the pasta.

 

Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella and remaining Parmesan on top.  

 

Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil (make sure you spray the inside part of the aluminum that will be directly on top of the Ziti). 

 

Bake for 30 minutes then remove the aluminum foil. Continue to bake for about another 20 – 30 minutes. 

 


Remove from over and enjoy!!! When plating sprinkle each serving with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.   

 

Baked Ziti

This baked family favorite is a no fail recipe!
Prep Time35 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 35 mins
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: cottage cheese, italian sausage, pasta, tomato, tomatoes, tubular pasta, ziti
Servings: 6
Author: Cats’ N Bearz
Cost: $15

Equipment

  • Pot (large)
  • Skillet (medium)
  • Chef’s Knife
  • Cutting board
  • 9x13 Baking Dish (it can be glass or metal)

Ingredients

  • 16 oz Ziti (or your favorite tubular pasta)
  • Olive Oil extra virgin

Cottage Cheese Mixture

  • 2 cups Cottage Cheese preferably whole milk
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 cup Parmesan shredded

Meat Mixture

  • 16 oz Italian Sausage you can use mild, sweet, spicy, etc...
  • 1 Onion diced : medium or large & it can be yellow or white
  • 6 tsp Garlic minced

Red Sauce

  • 28 oz Tomato Sauce canned
  • 14.5 oz Diced Tomatoes
  • 1/2 tbsp Italian Seasoning dried
  • 1 tsp Oregano dried
  • 1/4 cup Basil fresh
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/8 tsp Black Pepper

Mozzarella Mixture

  • 8 oz Mozzarella shredded
  • 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 tsp Cornstarch

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Notes

  • Instead of making your own red sauce you can substitute with a 32oz jar of your favorite tomato sauce!!!
  • I used cottage cheese instead of ricotta in order to give it a more flavorful and tangy flavor.
  • One if the best tips that I can give you for baked Ziti is to undercook your pasta when boiling it so you don’t end up with a soggy and underwhelming Ziti after you bake it!!!
  • I also substituted the eggs with Aquafaba (chickpea/garbanzo bean liquid that is in the can with the beans) since Brother Bear is allergic to eggs. I also blend the liquid with a hand mixer, so it gets kind of fluffy. 
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"The story of 3 kids, 1 dad, and 1 mom exploring and navigating the world & everything in it; all the while trying not to chicken chop each other..."

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