Thursday, November 5, 2009

Perfect for the freezer baked ziti

One of the blogs I greatly enjoy, Money Saving Mom, recently had a baking day along with her friend, FishMama. I am amazed and inspired at what these ladies accomplished in two days of (NONSTOP!) cooking!, FishMama's website, has a recipe swap on Thursdays, and this Thursday she asked for make ahead or freezer friendly recipes. I thought I would share one of my favorites:

Baked Ziti
1 lb. ziti noodles (wheat)
2-3 cups spaghetti sauce of choice (large jar of sauce if using jarred sauce)
**add ground beef or leftover meatloaf if the sauce does not contain meat
1 cup ricotta
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano, divided
1 ball (approx. 8 oz) fresh mozzarella, cubed, divided

Line one 13x9 pan or two 8x8 pans with two layers of foil, leaving the sides long enough to wrap over the top. Very lightly spray the bottom with cooking spray.

Bring large pot of water to boil over high heat, adding salt if desired. When water boils, add pasta and cook until just short of al dente. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

Add half of the spaghetti sauce to the pasta. Stir in ricotta and 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano, tossing to coat. Add one half of the cubed mozzarella ball and stir everything thoroughly. Turn the mixture out into the foil-lined pan(s). Top with remaining sauce, mozzarella and Parmigiano. Make sure mixture is completely cool, pull up the sides of the foil and wrap tightly. Write instructions for baking* on foil with Sharpie. Place pans in the freezer overnight. The next morning, pop the foil 'dishes' out of the pans, make sure the foil is tightly wrapped, and put ziti back in the freezer until you want to eat it!

To bake: Remove ziti from freezer and place in appropriate sized pan. Allow to defrost overnight in the refrigerator. *Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake until the cheese on top is melted and lightly browned, and sides are bubbly, approximately 20-25 minutes.

Notes: I originally saw this recipe on Rachael Ray, and I have adapted it for my family. She made her sauce from scratch (using meatloaf), and instead I use leftover homemade spaghetti sauce OR when in a rush, Ragu Robusto. I have substituted 'ordinary' shredded Mozzarella, and it just isn't as good. I don't buy Parmigiano Reggiano, but just use grated Parmesan :-) One batch makes a TON, so for my little family I split it into two 8x8 pans. It freezes like a dream!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting! I always enjoy hearing from those who read this blog.