Here’s what was cooking in the Pendell kitchen this week! This was a big hit with the husband, which always makes my day. I served it with a tossed salad and Parmesan toast (buttered bread with Parmesan cheese, toasted under the broiler). Big thanks to my friend Catherine for sharing this recipe with me!
Five-Cheese Baked Ziti
(This can be doubled to make a 9×13 pan – I used a casserole dish slightly larger than an 8×8 square)
FOR THE ZITI SAUCE
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cups alfredo sauce
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/8 cup mozzarella cheese , shredded
1 ½ tablespoons Fontina cheese , shredded*
½ teaspoon garlic pepper seasoning
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
FOR THE ZITI TOPPING
1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese , shredded
¼ cup Italian breadcrumbs
1 ½ tablespoons romano cheese , grated
½ tablespoon fresh garlic , chopped
1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil
1 ½ tablespoons fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
*I used Sargento Italian blend cheese where it called for Fontina and Romano cheese
½ lb dry ziti pasta
½ cup mozzarella cheese , shredded
PREPARE THE ZITI SAUCE:
1. Combining all ingredients for the Ziti Sauce in a large bowl; cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
PREPARE THE ZITI TOPPING:
2. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the first four ingredients for the Ziti Topping.
3. Add the garlic, oil, and parsley and mix until thoroughly blended. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
WHEN READY TO PREPARE THE WHOLE DISH:
4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray an 8×8 baking dish or large casserole with non-stick spray.
5. Prepare the pasta according to package directions.
6. Pour 1/4 cup of prepared ziti sauce into the prepared dish, and spread it evenly over the bottom using a spoon.
7. When pasta has finished cooking, drain the water and pour the hot pasta into the bowl of remaining sauce. Mix thoroughly; pour into the baking dish.
8. Spread 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella over the pasta and sauce mixture.
9. Top the mozzarella with the prepared Ziti Topping, spreading evenly.
10. Place pan on center oven rack and bake until top is golden brown and cheese is bubbling, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.