My Baked Ziti ~

A guest post, well sort of....

A few weeks ago, my youngest son called and said he wanted my recipe for my baked ziti.  Our conversation goes something like this:  "Mom, I want to bring your baked ziti to a friend's house, what do I need to buy?" (Usually this means he is in the grocery store shopping for the items and needs the recipe sans pronto).  So this recipe is from the top of my head, since I have made it without ever using a recipe.  It was one of those dishes handed down to me, while I watched my former Italian MIL making it and I took notes.  Notes that have been long since gone by the wayside, no longer needed as long as my memory holds up.  Thus, one reason for blogging, my children...

Now they have some of my recipes documented, since I neither
scrapbook or am much good at keeping notes.

So, from my memory to my son's friend's table, here is the recipe.  And he was nice enough to send my a picture from his cell after he put it together.  So that's what I meant about having "sort of" a guest blogger. :)

Oh, he used a 9 x 13 pyrex dish.  I use a large round, ceramic, very deep baking bowl.  If you choose to use the pyrex, you will have to use an extra square baking dish, because this makes quite a large amount.

Baked Ziti

16 ounces ziti pasta, uncooked (Barilla, might be 1&1/2 boxes)

3 cups spaghetti sauce (about)

2 lb container of whole milk ricotta cheesw

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese,  (save out 1/4 cup for top,   set aside)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon black pepper.
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (about). I don't measure this, just sprinkle on top.

Cook ziti according to package directions; drain well. (undercook by a minute or two)

Add about 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce to the cooked ziti, toss and set aside.

In a large bowl add the, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese and eggs, mix well,(add a pinch of salt and a grind of black pepper to this).

In a very large, oven proof bowl, or a 9 x 13 pyrex dish, add 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce and spread around.
Spoon half of the ziti mixture of the top, kind of evenly, but don't fuss.
By spoonfuls, drop half of the ricotta mixture and spread it out a little.  No need to have everything covered, the cheese will melt nice and gooey.

Top with (about 1 cup, by large spoonfuls) spaghetti sauce, spread a bit, but don't be fussy.  Just trust me on this....

Place the remaining ziti on top, kind of evenly... It's supposed to look rustic.  It's a peasant dish.

Spread the rest of the ricotta mixture over the top of the ziti.

Top with about 1 cup of spaghetti sauce, but don't spread or fuss really. Just use a large tablepoon and cover most everything.  Some of the cheese will be showing from underneath.

Top with the reserved mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Cover with
Aluminum foil. Not tightly, because the cheese will stick to the foil,  just tent it loosely.
Bake covered in the middle rack, of a pre-heated 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then uncover the foil and place back in oven for about 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and lay foil over the top and let rest for another 15 minutes.

Enjoy ~


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