Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Baked Ziti from Cook's Illustrated


Do you ever watch America’s Test Kitchen Saturdays on PBS? They take ordinary recipes and make them Special; there is a great segment where they review cooking utensils, equipment and tips.  I would have loved a job there….cooking,testing,tasting, comparing; doesn’t get better than that; it’s all about Food and food lovers.


The recipe I am sharing with you today is from the March 2009 issue of Cook's Illustrated and has been thoroughly tested by them.  Sadly I have never seen the magazine around here.  My goal right now is to find this Cook’s Illustrated; Chapter’s is my next stop.


I found this recipe on, made it and I wanted to share it with you because it brings baked pasta up to a new level. Don’t we all need a special recipe that can me made ahead to serve our family and friends? Reminds me of The Sopranos.

Transforming this Italian-American classic into a dish worth making, took more than swapping out the ricotta; come and check this out.  Perfect for a group; it may sound complicated but it is really good and worth the effort.

baked Ziti


Baked Ziti from Cook's Illustrated March 2009

Servings: 8-10


  • 1 lb 1% fat cottage cheese
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 ounces parmesan cheese, grated
  • salt
  • 1 lb ziti pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (28 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 (14 1/2 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4 inch pieces


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°F Whisk cottage cheese, eggs and 1 cup Parmesan together in medium bowl; set aside. Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in large Dutch oven over high heat. Stir in 1 Tablespoon salt and pasta; cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta begins to soften but is not yet cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain pasta and leave in colander.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil and garlic in 12 inch skillet over medium heat until garlic is fragrant but not brown. Stir in tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and oregano; simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Off heat, stir in 1/2 cup basil and sugar, then season with salt and pepper.
  3. Stir cornstarch into heavy cream in small bowl, transfer mixture to saucepan set over medium heat. Bring to simmer and cook until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove pot from heat and add cottage cheese mixture, 1 cup tomato sauce and 3/4 cup mozzarella, then stir to combine. Add pasta and stir to coat.

  1. Transfer pasta mixture to 13 x 9 inch baking dish and spread remaining tomato sauce evenly over pasta. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup mozzarella and remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan over top. Cover baking dish tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove foil and continue to cook until cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown, about 30 minutes longer. Cool for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 3 Tablespoons basil and serve.
  3. Print Recipe



Sage's Tips

Sage’s Tips

Use your own tomato sauce or your favourite from the supermarket.

To save another step you can buy a jar of Alfredo sauce, instead of making the cream mixture.

I made 1/2 the recipe and it was really good.

Make this the day before and bake it with the gang arrives.

Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to  write to a few words.

Happy Cooking!


Wishing you all a Healthy and Happy 2013.

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  1. You know that when you make something tested in America's Home Kitchen that it has been thoroughly tested. I stopped subscribing to the magazine for a while. (Information overload!) Found I missed it and re-subscribed. This recipe is one of the reasons! Thanks for sharing, Rita.

  2. It looks delicious..I have seen that magazine..Even in a grocery store I think..Adonis..Chapter will ave it..but is it that particular 2009 issue you want? Maybe they have back issues for sale?
    A subscription would be a great idea for you:)

    The best to you this year:).

  3. This looks delicious and if "they" make it and test it, you know it will be perfect. Love watching this on TV and have a subscription. Well worth it and we do make many of the recipes.

  4. Love that show - they take the simple and make it superb. You'll find Cooks Illustrated at Chapters for sure. Along with it's terrific companion of Gardening Illustrated.

    Happy cooking.

  5. The trouble with Cooks Illustrated is that once you get the magazine, you don't ever want to get rid of it. The covers, back and front, are so beautiful. Of course, the recipes are all quite nice and your's sounds delicious.


  6. Un repas de pâtes rien de meilleur!!

    Bonne année chère Rita:) xx

  7. Hi Rita, hmmmm this recipe has definitely been 'americanized' in that test kitchen. :-) From what I know, anyways! I never tried a recipe from Cook's Illustrated. The magazine always looks so enticing.

  8. Yummm!! We love Cooks Illustrated - always something new to learn and like "From the Ktchen" above, the covers really sell the item for us. I want to frame some of my favorites to hang in the kitchen!

    Wishing you a wonderful New Year!!

  9. I only recently have I come to learn Alfredo sauce and I loved it! These ziti Rita are simply perfect! I am sure my family would appreciate them as much as I do!Happy 2013!

  10. Love baked ziti and this sounds like a great recipe.

  11. Hi Rita, I have not had the pleasure of watching America's test kitchen n PBS but, I do get the magazine. It is one of my favorite subscriptions.

    Baked pasta is soulful and switching out the cottage cheese for ricotta is a good idea too.

    Happy New Year.


  12. Rita this look absolutely delicious. !
    Im happy can enter to your blog some days I cant!

  13. Cook's Illustrated is always a great source. They test and then test their recipes some more.

  14. Happy New Years Rita!! We have that magazine here. I wonder if you could subscribe and get it in your mailbox? Can't go wrong with baked ziti.

  15. Happy New Year!! I love Cooks Illustrated! These ziti looks amazing.

  16. It sounds delicious and it's not complicated. Love baked pasta...
    Happy New year!

  17. I've seen so many delicious pasta recipes lately but this one is really calling me to make it! I've gotten some very good recipes from Cook's Illustration and America's Test Kitchen - my latest post being a very good example :)

  18. nice recipe for a crowd I love their twitter tips

  19. Happy New Year Rita. I think I will make this the next time we have our friends over. Great recipe. Cooks Illustrated researches the heck out of recipes.

  20. Sounds delicious, as everything here always does. It's been awhile, thought I'd pop over to say hello and wish you a Happy New Year! :)

  21. I love baked pasta! It offers so many different combinations, and baked ziti is one of my favourite dishes!
    Happy New Year!

  22. This looks delicious! I never did thought of adding in cream! Sounds so flavourful!
    Happy New Year!

  23. Your baked ziti looks terrific, and you're right - it's a perfect make ahead recipe.

  24. I love ATK and CI... and this baked ziti looks amazing!

  25. Oh Rita, your baked ziti looks wonderful, it is one of my husband favorite pasta dish.
    Happy New Year and have a great week!

  26. Yes, I've seen the show and love the magazine with all it's great recipes. This baked ziti is fabulous and I want to make it!

  27. This is my favorite kind of casserole because the leftovers are just as delicious, sometimes more so, than the day it was made. I'm looking forward to trying this, Rita.


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