Sep 18, 2011

Baked Ziti

I always substitute ground beef for lamb in all my recipes. Lamb is much lighter and does not have the zinc taste that beef seems to have for me personally. Baked Ziti is a great Italian comfort food that is easy to make and also freezes well. You can use any small pasta that you have on hand for this dish as well.

1/2 pound lean ground beef or lamb
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-3/4 cups spaghetti sauce
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
6 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano, divided
8 ounces ziti or small tube pasta
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1. In a large saucepan, cook lamb and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain.

2. Stir in the spaghetti sauce, tomatoes, tomato paste, water, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, basil and 1/2 teaspoon oregano. Cover and simmer for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

3. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, 2 tablespoons Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper.

4. Spread 1 cup meat sauce into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Layer with half of the pasta, a third of the meat sauce and half of the cheese mixture. Repeat layers. Top with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and oregano. Cover and bake at 350° for 1 hour or until heated through.

Yields: 6 servings

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