Monday, June 6, 2011

Baked Ziti

I have a friend who was returning from a trip to the UK and I knew she would have no food in her house. She loves Italian food so I thought I would make her some ziti. Then I figured I might as well feed my other friends too. It is just as easy to make tons of ziti as it is to make one container.

I started with several pound of ground beef to make meatballs. I also mixed in 1 pound of Italian sausage.

While I made the meatballs I sauteed the pancetta.

I added crushed crackers, granulated garlic, diced onion, fresh parsley, 2 eggs and some salt and pepper.

Mix this together very thoroughly.

Dice as much garlic as you like.

I always make my sauce using some sort of pork. I had 2 smoked pork chops so I browned them in the leftover pancetta grease.

Then I sauteed the garlic until it turned golden.

Cook the meatballs, turning often, until they are evenly browned. Remove them and set them aside for a bit.

Stir in 3 large (28 oz.) cans of crushed tomatoes. These measurements are changed depending on how much you are making. Add 1 large can of tomato paste. Add salt and pepper to taste. This sauce gets a lot of it's flavor from the meat.

Add in the crisp pancetta, meatballs and pork. Place this in a 325 degree oven for an hour.

I made some semolina bread to go with the final dish.

Prepare the ricotta buy dumping all of it in a large bowl and adding salt, pepper, grated romano cheese, 3 raw eggs, oregano and granulated garlic. Mix this thoroughly.

Boil your pasta until just al dente.

This is the sauce after an hour of cooking.

This is a great recipe to use up leftover cheese. I had some Boursin so I added it and stirred it in.

Dice up lots of Provolone cheese.

I grated some extra Asiago that I had too. Add both cheeses to the pasta and stir around.

Mix some of the sauce with the pasta.

Put some sauce in the bottom of your dishes. Top with a layer of pasta and then a layer of ricotta.

Top with another layer of pasta, sauce and sprinkle with some grated Parmesan.

Bread fresh from the oven.

The ziti bakes at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

These freeze very well too!