Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Lasagna-Style Baked Ziti

Lasagna-Style Baked Ziti

1 pound ziti

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 pound lean ground beef

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup chopped fresh oregano (optional)

1 26-ounce jar pasta sauce 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmesan

1 15-ounce container ricotta

1 10-ounce box frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove liquid

1 cup grated mozzarella
Cook the ziti according to the package instructions.Heat oven to 400° F.In a large pot, over medium-low heat, heat the oil. Add the onion, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook until the onion is softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the beef, increase heat to medium-high, and cook until no trace of pink remains, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain any remaining liquid. Add the garlic and oregano (if using) and cook for 2 minutes. Add the pasta sauce and heat for 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the cooked pasta and toss to coat. Add the Parmesan, ricotta, and spinach and toss again. Spread the mixture into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or individual ramekins and sprinkle with the mozzarella. Bake until the mozzarella melts, about 15 minutes.Tip: If you prefer, substitute Italian sausage for the ground beef and chopped broccoli for the spinach.To Freeze: Assemble (but do not bake) the casserole. Cover tightly with two layers of aluminum foil. Store for up to 3 months.To Reheat: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or thaw partially in the microwave. Cover and heat in a 350° F oven for 1 hour. Uncover and heat until the mozzarella melts, about 10 minutes more.Yield: Makes 4 servings

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