Friday, January 29, 2010

Baked Ziti

I originally was going to make this for my husband's friends that were going to help us move a few weeks ago since it's such a huge dish. Well, our closing was delayed indefinitely and I still had all the ingredients. I knew we would eat the leftovers anyways so went ahead and made it. Plus I fully took advantage of having Brad pre-test it for when we do finally move.

My husband loved it and so did I. What a winner! I might even cut this recipe in half and make in a smaller dish just for us from now on. Now that I have a fabulous new garlic bread recipe I think it will go very well with this. The boys are gonna love this!

Oh and just to give you a visual, here is a picture of my very full 9x13 inch glass dish. I followed the recipe from the website as-is. If you have a deep dish pan, I highly suggest using that.

Baked Ziti
Adapted from: Annie's Eats , originally Cook's Illustrated, March & April 2009

1 lb cottage cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1.5 cups grated parmesan cheese
1 lb ziti
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
20 oz turkey Italian sausage (1 pkg)
1/2 cup chopped onion
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 large can tomato sauce (28 oz)
1 can diced tomatoes (14 oz)
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp basil (dried or fresh)
1 tsp sugar
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
3/4 tsp cornstarch
1 cup heavy cream (or whole milk)
8 oz low-moisture mozzarella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk cottage cheese, eggs, and 1 cup parmesan together in medium bowl and set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook until it begins to soften but not completely cooked, about 5-7 minutes. Drain pasta and leave in colander.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat and crumble sausage cooking until nearly brown. Add onion and garlic and continue to cook until sausage is completely browned. Stir in tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and oregano. Simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add 1/2 cup basil, sugar, salt and pepper.

In small bowl, combine cornstarch and heavy cream. Transfer mixture to now-empty stock pot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, 3-4 minutes. Remove the pot from heat adding the cottage cheese mixture, 1.5 cups of tomato sauce mixture and 3/4 cup mozzarella. Stir to combine. Add pasta and toss to coat evenly.

Transfer pasta mixture to 9x13 dish and spread remaining tomato sauce on top. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese over top. Cover with foil and cook 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove foil and continue cooking another 20-30 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and sprinkle with basil to garnish.

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