June 30, 2010

Baked Ziti

When I had Connor a year ago {{sniff, sniff}}, my sweet friend, Caroline, made this AMAZING meal for me!  My family loved it so much I got the recipe from her;)  It came from Cooks Illustrated...that is the best magazine!  I love it!  Anyway, I hope your family devours it like mine did!  Did I mention that my Noah HATES cheese and pasta?  Yeah...he devoured this and said I was the best "cooker" ever!  I just love him:)

Just check out all the gooey cheese!  There is a secret to get that!  I had no idea that I have been doing it wrong all these years!  Say good-bye to shredded mozzarella cheese and hello to DICED mozzarella!  Who would have thought?

Baked Ziti
By: Cooks Illustrated

1 pound whole milk cottage cheese or 1 % cottage cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 oz. grated Parmesan (about 1 1/2 cups)
Table salt
1 lb. ziti or other short, tubular pasta
2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
5 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 5 tsp.)
1 (28 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 c. plus 2 tsp. chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tsp. sugar
Ground black pepper
3/4 tsp. cornstarch
1 c. heavy cream
8 oz. low-moisture mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4" pieces (about 1 1/2 c.)

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk cottage cheese, eggs, and 1 c. Parmesan together in medium bowl; set aside.  Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in large Dutch oven over high heat.  Stir in 1 TBS salt and pasta; cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta begins to soften but is not yet cooked through, 5-7 minutes.  Drain pasta and leave in colander (do not wash Dutch oven).

Meanwhile, heat oil and garlic in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until garlic is fragrant but not brown, about 2 minutes.  Stir in tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and oregano; simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.  Off heat, stir in 1/2 c. basil and sugar, then season with salt and pepper.  (You probably won't need extra salt)

Stir cornstarch into heavy cream in small bowl; transfer mixture to now-empty Dutch oven set over medium heat.  Bring to simmer and cook until thickened, 3-4 minutes.  Remove pot from heat and add cottage cheese mixture, 1 c. tomato sauce, and 3/4 c. mozzarella, then stir to combine.  Add pasta and stir to coat thoroughly with sauce.

Transfer pasta mixture to 9x13 inch baking dish and spread remaining tomato sauce evenly over pasta.  Sprinkle remaining 3/4 c. mozzarella and remaining 1/2 c. Parmesan over top.  Cover baking dish tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove foil and continue to cook until cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown, about 30 minutes longer.  Cool for 20 minutes.  Sprinkle with remaining 2 TBS basil and serve.


  1. The first ingredient says 1 lb. Is that right?

  2. Hi Melissa! It does say one pound! Sorry...I will fix that...its kind of hard to read!

  3. Recipe #2 that looks good! I acutally saw this one on Pinterest :) If it didn't go straight to my hips, I would eat pasta every, single day!