I prefer to cook what my dinner guest craves, so I indulged Dre’s request for baked ziti. I was low on spaghetti sauce and had some veggies that needed to be eaten. I blanched broccoli florets, sauteed mushrooms, onions, & garlic, opened a large can of crushed tomatoes, and warmed them together with seasonings in a saucepan.
While the sauce simmered, I decided on large rigatoni and boiled them until al dente in salted water. I like fat noodles when making baked pasta dishes as they tend to fill with your sauce when tossed. The jumbo macaronis for my Smokey Bacon Mac & Cheese worked great! I folded ricotta cheese & shredded mozzarella into the warm sauce, tossed it with the cooked rigatoni, and dumped it into a greased casserole. Once the sliced mozzarella I tiled on top began to brown & bubble, I pulled it from the over and served Dre a big, hot scoop of Baked Toni.
- Crushed Tomatoes – (1) large can
- Broccoli - (0.5) head, trimmed into small florets & blanched
- Mushrooms – (1) cup, sliced
- Garlic – (1) T, minced
- Onion – (1) medium, sliced thin
- Dried Basil – (1) T
- Red Pepper Flakes – (1) tsp
- S&P - to taste
- Ricotta – (1.5) cups, part skim
- Shredded Mozzarella – (1) cup, low moisture – part skim
- Fresh Mozzarella – (6) oz, sliced (or enough to cover most of the dish)
- Grated Parmesan - to taste
- Rigatoni – (1) lb, cooked al dente & tossed w/ olive oil
- Olive Oil - as needed
- Heat about (2) T of Olive Oil in a saute pan. Add garlic & onion and cook until caramelized, about (5) min.
- Add mushrooms & saute until browned on both sides, about (3) min per side.
- Dump entire contents of the canned crushed tomatoes into a sauce pan. Add cooked mushrooms mixture, blanched broccoli, dried basil, red pepper flakes, and S&P. Stir and bring to a simmer.
- While sauce simmers, bring a large stockpot of salted water to a rolling boil. Cook rigatoni until al dente, about (10-12) min.
- Drain rigatoni and return to stock pot. Add a bit of olive oil & toss to prevent sticking.
- Remove sauce from the heat and dump into a large mixing bowl.
- Fold in ricotta & shredded mozzarella cheeses unti combine.
- Add rigatoni and toss to coat completely.
- Pour the rigatoni & sauce mixture into a greased casserole dish.
- Tile sliced fresh mozzarella on top.
- Bake at 350 degrees for (25) min or until the cheese is browned & the casserole is bubbling.
- Let cool for about (3) min and serve with grated parmesan cheese.