Life is good: Baked Ziti

You know you’re on the right track when it comes to cooking, when you look in the New York Times and find a recipe for Baked Ziti that is identical to your own. Granted, we’re not talking any complex dish here (It’s essentially a casserole), but still, it brought a smile to my face to know that I have the same mind as a writer for the Times.

The below comes from the NYTimes and Mark Bittman, but consider it Accidental Hedonist tried, tested and true.

(Note: This is not an Italian Dish, but consider it more Italian-American)

  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, ground
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic, optional
  • 1 28-ounce can tomatoes, chopped, with liquid
  • 1 pound ziti or other large cut pasta
  • 1 pound mozzarella, chopped
  • Olive oil or butter as needed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Bring large pot of water to boil; salt it. Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Distribute meat in large skillet over medium high heat and cook, undisturbed, until browned on one side, about 5 minutes. Stir, cook another 2 minutes undisturbed, then add the onion and garlic, if using. Lower heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft; add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Simmer while cooking pasta, stirring and seasoning with salt and pepper to taste; do not let sauce become too thick.

Cook pasta until just tender; it should still be too hard to eat. Drain it (do not shake the colander; allow some water to cling to the noodles) and toss it with the sauce and half the mozzarella. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and spoon mixture into it. Top with remaining mozzarella and the Parmesan if using. Bake until top is browned and cheese bubbly, 20 to 30 minutes.

Yield: 6 servings.


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