Baked Ziti

Today we will be making the pizza party classic: Baked Ziti
This recipe is as Italian as apple pie. But its delicious so, there’s that.
For this recipe, you will need: a large can of tomato puree, a bag of shredded mozzarella, a medium sized container of ricotta, a box of ziti and a pound of ground beef. 

Put a pot on for the ziti (ie boil water). I’ll wait until your finished.

Ready?

Ok.

Now it’s time to make the sauce. I have discovered that the trick to decent marinara sauce is to put a can of puree into a pot, add salt, pepper, basil, garlic and onion powder and just let it simmer for a while. Don’t touch it, no matter how hard that seems.

Pictured: Sauce cooking without being harassed.

While you are pretending that you don’t want to play with the sauce, you can distract yourself by cooking the beef. Because of the high fat content of the level of ground beef I use (read: cheap) there was enough fat just in there that I didn’t even need to use oil or butter.

Kinda gross when you think about it

Cook it until it looks done.

Brown and yummy

Add the meat to the sauce and mix it in.  I did everything in my power to avoid getting the fat that got cooked out into the sauce, however it will be more flavorful if you don’t

Dump in the container of ricotta and mix it in thoroughly

It should be the color of baby food when you’re done

 Go ahead and let that simmer until the pasta is cooked. When you are ready to add it, take a glass pan (or if you are smart and don’t care about the environment, a tin foil pan that can be thrown out when you are done) and coat the bottom with sauce and then dump your pasta on top.

Pour the rest of your sauce over the remaining pasta and mix in so that all of the pasta is coated in cheesy, meaty goodness.

Above: Cheesy meaty goodness

Cover with a thick coating of shredded mozzarella and bake on 450 until the cheese is browned

Serve piping hot.

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