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 Food.com, 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 from Cook's Illustrated March 2009
- 1 lb 1% fat cottage cheese
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 ounces parmesan cheese, grated
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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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.
Wishing you all a Healthy and Happy 2013.