Sunday, January 2, 2011

Baked Ziti with Pesto


1 pound ground beef or ground turkey
1/2 pound ziti (I use the wheat noodles)
2 Tbsp cooking oil
1 onion, chopped (I use the frozen, pre-chopped onions - best find EVER by Jessi!)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree
1/4 tsp salt
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp fresh-ground black pepper
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups grated, packaged mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I usually just get a package of shredded Italian cheese and combine it with some shredded Parmesan)
1/4 cup pesto

1. Heat oven to 350. Oil an 8x8 baking dish.
2. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta for about 7 minutes, or until partially cooked. Drain and rinse with cold water.
3. Cook ground beef/turkey. Add in onions and garlic until cooked through.
4. Add tomatoes, salt, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer over moderate heat and cook until very thick, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Remove bay leaf.
5. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, about half the Parmesan, the pesto, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
6. Put half of the cooked pasta into the parpared baking dish and top with about a third of the tomato sauce. Spread the cheese/pesto mixture on the sauce in an even layer. Cover with the remaining pasta and then the remaining sauce. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and the remaining Parmesan. Bake until bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes before cutting.

Recipe adapted from Food & Wine Magazine's Quick from Scratch Pasta Cookbook


  1. As Rachael Ray would say, "YUMMO!"

  2. This is one of Emma's favorite dinners. She squeals with excitement when she knows this dish is on the menu!