How To Make The Best Baked Ziti :: Moist And Delicious Easy Dinner Recipes!
Moist and Delicious Baked Ziti!
Like many people, I never bothered to make Baked Ziti – it always seems to be bland and mushy or dry and flavorless. The noodles usually get overcooked, and then the whole mess dries out in the oven when it gets baked.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a recipe for Baked Ziti that had perfectly al dente pasta covered with a creamy tomato sauce? Well here it is!
There are some easy Italian recipes for Baked Ziti, but going the easy way leads to a dry and bland result! Sure, this “easy” dinner recipe has a lot of steps - we’ll be making 2 different kinds of homemade sauce - but none of those steps are difficult, and after the first few attempts you’ll be able to turn this out in no time at all!
The key to the great taste of this Baked Ziti recipe is in the sauce! We’ll use two different kinds of canned tomatoes for the Tomato Sauce, and Heavy Cream and Cottage Cheese for a simple Alfredo Sauce. The combination of these two sauces ensures that our Baked Ziti stays moist! And you can use these quick and easy recipes for the Sauces on their own, too!
- Non-Stick Saucepan
- Glass Casserole
- 1 lb ziti
- 2 tbls Olive Oil
- 5 cloves Garlic, minced
- 28 oz can Tomato Sauce
- 14½ oz can Diced Tomatoes
- 1 tsp Dried Oregano
- ½ cup Fresh Basil, coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 1 cup Heavy Cream
- ¾ tsp Corn Starch
- 2 Eggs, beaten
- 1 cup Grated Parmesan
- 1 lb Cottage Cheese
- ¾ cup Mozzarella, cut into ¼ inch cubes
- ¾ cup Mozzarella, cut into ¼ inch cubes
- ½ cup Grated Parmesan
- Fresh Basil, coarsely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Add the Oil and Garlic to a cold Non-Stick Saucepan and turn the heat to medium
- Once Garlic becomes fragrant (but not brown!), add the Tomato Sauce and Dried Oregano to the Saucepan
- Simmer about 10 minutes until thickened
- Turn off the heat and add the Basil, Sugar, Salt and Pepper
- Set Tomato Sauce aside for later
- Boil the Ziti in salted water for half the amount of time indicated on the package (about 5 minutes)
- Drain the Ziti and set aside for later
- Beat the Eggs in a medium sized mixing bowl and stir in the Cottage Cheese
- Dissolve the Corn Starch in the Heavy Cream to form a slurry
- Pour the Cream slurry into the same pot you used to cook the Ziti and cook it over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes
- Remove the Cream from heat
- Whisk the Egg & Cottage Cheese mixture into the Cream
- Add 1 cup of Tomato Sauce, 1 cup of Parmesan and ¾ cups Mozzarella to the mixture
- Stir to combine, then add the Ziti and stir to coat
- Pour the mixture into the Casserole dish
- Top with remaining Tomato Sauce, Parmesan and Mozzarella
- Cover the Casserole with foil and cook from 30 minutes
- Remove the foil and cook another 30 minutes
- Remove Casserole from the oven and let it cool for 20 minutes
- Serve and enjoy!
- While heavy cream is best, you can substitute Whole Milk – just add an extra 2 tsps of Corn Starch and cook it from an additional 2 minutes
- Don’t substitute low-fat Cottage Cheese! It doesn’t have enough fat to thicken the Alfredo Sauce
- You can add Italian Sausage if you like – Cut the Sausage into 1 inch chunks and cook it in the Saucepan with the Olive Oil before you make the sauce. Remove the cooked Sausage from the pan with a slotted spoon. Then add the Garlic to the pan and continue as above
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Baked ziti photo from http://www.flickr.com/photos/35694730@N00/2740996853 / CC BY 2.0
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