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Mar 2, 2005 11:14 AM

Baked Ziti

  • c

I'm looking for a good meatless baked ziti/rigatoni/penne recipe. The ones I found on Epicurious don't really grab me. Thanks!

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  1. I *loved* this recipe when I made it. It's full of cheesy goodness and is VERY basic. I surmise you could add some veggies if you wanted to without any problems, but I like just having the unadulterated ziti, sauce and cheese.


    1 Reply
    1. re: Jellybelly

      I make a vegetarian version of Giada DiLaurentis' baked ziti with meatballs and it is a huge hit every time.

      Because I ditch the meatballs, I add flavor by using my favorite commercial spaghetti sauce instead of the tomato sauce and adding oregano and basil.

    2. My hot tip: use wagon wheels! Everybody smiles when they see them. De Cecco makes them, too, so no concession of quality there.

      Make a tomato sauce with

      olive oil
      2 cans San Marzano tomatoes--crush them thru your fingers
      1 large onion
      4 cloves garlic
      1 heaping teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste
      and a bunch of coarsely chopped vegetables, such as
      --3 carrots
      --1 small bulb fennel
      --4-6 little zucchini
      --1/2 pound mushrooms
      --chard stems are good, if you have them lying around
      --also a small eggplant that you've cubed and broiled until brown. Or fried-yum!

      Saute the vegetables one by one, add the tomatoes, a splash of wine if you want, and simmer at least an hour. Don't let the sauce get as thick as you would if you were just saucing pasta.

      Then, cook your pound of wagon wheels til very al dente, and run a little water over them to stop the cooking. Toss 'em with a generous amount of sauce (though you'll probably have extra sauce) and spread them in a pan. (Pan size is tricky--a 9x13 pan is perfect for one and a half pounds of pasta. So check what you have in the house.) Dollop a pound of whole-milk ricotta cheese all around, and sprinkle 1/2 pound of fresh mozzarella (cut up) over. Mix it up a little, but leave lumps of ricotta. Cover with about a cup of grated parmesan. Bake at 350 for a half-hour covered, then 20 minutes uncovered.