Baked Ziti Bolognese

Without a doubt, the biggest hit, among family and friends. It’s sooo incredibly easy, tastes even better the next day and reheats beautifully.

It all starts with the bolognese. My favorite recipe is Ann Burrel’s. Follow these very important steps and it will soon become your favorite:

1.) BROWN the sofrito (onions, carrots, celery). Like in her video, you’ll see her brown it to the point of lightly burning it. JUST when it begins to leave fond on the bottom of the pan, you give it a stir.

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2.) SEASON WELL! Each step requires a healthy seasoning.
3.) BROWN the meat, much like the sofrito.
4.) Add about a cup of water at a time, when simmering and reducing.
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Do not stir too often! Meat with not brown if it’s constantly moved about the pan.

Follow those tips and you’ll have an extremely rich and tasty base for you ziti or lasagna.

When making lasagna or eating the sauce over pasta, I will add a little bit of cream, at the end, to somewhat reduce the richness.
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Now let’s move on to the ziti.

1 box of ziti
16 oz of ricotta
8 oz of shredded mozzarella
1/2 a cup of grated parm
1 egg
1 tsp herb de Provence
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried oregano
4-5 cups of bolognese

Boil the pasta but reduce cooking time by a few minutes for a very al dente noodle. Rinse the pasta in cold water and set aside.

Mix the ricotta with one beaten egg. Add the herb de Provence, a teaspoon of sugar and stir gently. You don’t want to over beat the ricotta as it will lose its airiness.
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Using a greased casserole dish, add half the pasta, half the sauce, half the mozzarella and half the parm. GENTLY fold everything together. Once it’s well blended, repeat with the remaining ingredients.
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Top with some grated parm and some dried oregano.

Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes. If the top begins to look dry, loosely cover with foil until thoroughly heated.
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I also like to keep a cup or two of sauce ready to top the finished product.

While it’s baking, halve an Italian loaf. Soften a stick of butter with 2-3 tablespoons of minced garlic.

Lather on the mixture and add shredded mozzarella . Sprinkle it with a little dried oregano. Place it cheese side up on a piece of foil and put it in the oven for the last 20 minutes of baking time.

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Delicious!!!
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