Monday, March 21, 2016

Baked Ziti


1 pound 1% cottage cheese
2 large eggs
1 cup fresh parmesan cheese, shredded
1 pound ziti or rigatoni
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup milk
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, cubes in 1/4 inch cubes


Preheat oven to 350ยบ.  Lightly grease 9x13 pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cottage cheese, eggs and 3/4 cup of the parmesan cheese. 

Cook pasta in a pot of salted water until it softens, but isn't cooked all the way (about 3 minutes short of the package directions) It will continue to cook in the oven. 

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat and add garlic.  When garlic is fragrant, but not browned, stir in tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, sugar, basil and oregano.  Simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.  Take off heat and season with salt and pepper. 

Drain pasta and leave in colander.  Whisk together the cornstarch and milk.  Pour it into the empty pot on medium heat.  Bring the milk to a simmer and cook until thickened, whisking constantly (3-4 minutes)

Remove the pot from the heat and add the cottage cheese mixture, 1 cup or so of the simmered tomato sauce, and half of the mozzarella cubes. Stir to combine. 

Add the cooked pasta and stir to coat well with the saucy mixture. 

Transfer the pasta to the prepared pan and pour the remaining tomato sauce evenly over the pasta. 

Spread the remaining mozzarella cubes and remaining parmesan cheese over the top.  

Cover the baking dish with foil that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray and bake for about 30 minutes. 

Remove the foil and and continue to cook until the cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown, about 30 minutes longer. 

Freezable Meal: Prepare the recipe right up until the baking step and then cover with a double layer of aluminum foil that's been lightly greased with cooking spray. Freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. To bake, increase the time by another 20 minutes or so. If baking from frozen, bake covered for 1 hour and 30 minutes, uncover and bake 30 minutes longer.

Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

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