Baked Ziti with Three Cheeses
Your whole family will love this delicious lasagna-like casserole that uses ziti pasta in place of the traditional noodles.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 (14.5-ounce) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes
1 cup water
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese - divided use
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
1 large egg
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
12 ounces rigatoni pasta, cooked according to package directions
- Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic and fennel seeds and sauté until onion has softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in oregano and sage, cook 30 seconds and add tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and water. Simmer until mixture thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.
- Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Grease a 9x13x2-inch glass baking dish.
- In medium bowl combine ricotta cheese and egg. Season with salt and pepper.
- Spread 1/4 of sauce over bottom of prepared baking dish. Layer 1/3 of cooked pasta over. Drop half of ricotta mixture over by spoonfuls and sprinkle with 1/3 of the mozzarella then ladle 1/4 of sauce over . Repeat layering with another 1/3 of pasta, remaining ricotta mixture, 1/3 of the mozzarella, 1/4 of sauce and remaining pasta. Ladle remaining sauce over and sprinkle with remaining 1/3 of mozzarella and remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.
- Cover casserole with aluminum foil and bake until heated through, about 45 minutes, removing cover after 30 minutes to allow cheese to brown.
Makes 6 servings.