Tuesday, July 9, 2013

B is for Baked Ziti (No-Boil)

I had recently tried a recipe for No Boil Macaroni and Cheese that turned out pretty well other than it was a bit too al dente. It's still worth it because I'll just add more liquid the next time I make it.

But, I had a box of tri-color rotini in my pantry I wanted to use along with some ricotta, shredded mozzarella and spaghetti sauce. I went looking for a recipe for no-boil rotini, but wasn't successful. However, I did find a recipe for no-boil baked ziti that I decided to try figuring my pasta would replace the ziti approximately one-for-one.

My problem was that my box of rotini was 12 oz and the recipe called for eight ounces. Plus, my rotini seemed smaller in diameter than ziti would be, so I wanted to be sure what came out of the oven wasn't too runny or too thick and that the pasta was cooked all the way through.

Holy cow! What I got turned out to be the BEST baked pasta I'd ever had!! I've had some that the ricotta seems to dominate and the pasta sauce gets lost. I've had others that add nutmeg to such a degree that it isn't just an accent, but a primary flavor. I was hoping to avoid either one of those extremes. 

One of the ways I tried to do that was to add some additional spices to the mixture to keep it from being too cheesy. Fortunately, I was successful. 

Now, I'll share with you the recipe I used with notes showing what changes I made and where. I really think you'll be pleased with this recipe. It takes only five minutes to prepare!

The thing I liked best was that it didn't heat up the whole house. There was heat from the oven, but if I had done both boiling water and the oven, it would have been very uncomfortable. Since we don't eat in the kitchen, this worked well for a summer meal.


No Boil Baked Ziti

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 60 minutes
Serves: 8

1 26 oz jar pasta sauce (I used a can of Hunt's meat flavored)
1 1/2 cups water (I added more water, maybe 1/2 cup or so)
15 oz ricotta 
1/4 cup grated parmesan (I left this out - just sprinkled some on top near the end)
2 cups shredded mozzerella
8 oz uncooked ziti (I used 12 oz of tri-colored rotini which is why I added more water)

Preheat oven to 400 F.
Combine sauce and water.
Stir in ricotta, parmesan, and 1 cup mozzerella.
Add uncooked ziti. (I also added about 1/2 tsp each of Italian and Pizza spice blends.)
Spoon ziti mixture into 13x9" baking dish.
Cover with foil and bake 55 minutes.
Remove foil and sprinkle with remaining mozzerella. (This is when I sprinkled the parmesan, too.)
Bake uncovered for 5 minutes. 

Original recipe from Ragu - www.ragu.com/recipes/detail/38476/2/ragu-no-boiling-baked-ziti.

This article was originally posted to my Foodie blog: foodie-speaks-eats-cooks.blogspot.com/2011/07/no-boil-baked-ziti-actually-rotini.html and then to my Bubblews account on July 2.

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