We couldn't pass up the chance to do a recipe for Baked Ziti. Who doesn't love pasta, meat sauce and cheese?
1 lb uncooked ziti or penne pasta
8 oz lean ground meat - beef , pork or turkey work well
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons Taste of Sicily
2 teaspoons Roasted Garlic Flakes
1/4 teaspoon crushed Red Pepper Flakes
8 oz frozen mixed vegetables
1 teaspoon Italian Herb Seasoning
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded - divided
8 oz mozzarella cheese, cubed
1 Tablespoon House Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Lightly spray the bottom and sides of a casserole dish or lasagna pan with cooking spray
In a dutch oven or large pan, heat olive oil to medium hight heat
Add onions and cook until tender
Add meat and cook until browned and cooked through - about 5-8 minutes
Add crushed tomatoes, Taste of Sicily Seasoning, garlic flakes and vegetables.
Cook about 10-15 minutes until sauce is heated through and vegetables are tender but still crisp.
If sauce seems too thick add enough of the reserved pasta water to desired consistency.
Reserve 1/3 cup of the pasta sauce and let cool.
Cook pasta according to package directions. (Pasta should cook to al dente) Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water, then drain and rinse pasta.
In a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, red pepper flakes, 3 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese, Italian Seasoning and the reserved pasta sauce - mix to combine.
Spoon 1/2 cup of pasta sauce on the bottom of the casserole dish, spread 1/2 of the cooked pasta evenly onto the sauce.
Spread the ricotta cheese mixture over the pasta and cover with 1/2 of the remiaing sauce.
Top with the remaining pasta and the remaining sauce.
Top with the remaining Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese cubes. (pusing the cheese cubes down slightly into the sauce helps them not stick to the foil during cooking)
Cover the dish with foil and bake 25-30 minutes.
Remove foil and bake uncovered 5-10 minutes more until cheese is completely melted and dish is hot and bubbly.
After removing from oven, allow the dish to site for 10 - 15 minutes before serving.