Saturday, January 4, 2014

Baked Ziti

All I can say is boy, am I glad I had yesterdays post up and ready to go a few days before it went up.  In the last few days the last thing I felt like doing is writing.  On New Years Eve I found out I had shingles on my face.  Yup, shingles.  I really only thought shingles come around when you are older or immuno compromised.  Nope, according to my doctor it can just happen and they really aren't sure why.  It started last Friday when I had this stinging sensation near my eye.  Couldn't quite figure it out.  I thought it was an allergy of some sort but day by day my bridge of my nose started to become more red and swollen.

Yes, shingles can happen on your face.  I thought only the torso.  I have learned a lot.  Also, if you suspect you might have shingles, go and find out because after day 3 of the onset there is really nothing they can do that will help you.  No drugs. No relief.  Day five is when it peeks.  Of course, when you don't really know what is happening and you try not to run to the doctors too often because it is just too costly...                      

Shingles lesson learned.  I hope I have helped you in some way. 

On to the food.  The glorious food.

I saw this picture, similar to the one above on Pinterest.  Clicked on the link because I was intrigued by a casserole that looked like pizza. Had to make it.  My husband and kids love this kind of stuff.  Here is what it is, looks like pizza but it is really baked ziti in disguise.  Now, you certainly can substitute any kind of pasta here but ziti or rotini or something tubular are my favorites for this type of dish.

Baked Ziti in Disguise
Click here for printable without commentary.

1 pound cooked pasta, such as ziti or rotini, al dente
2 cups mozzarella
1/2 cup peccorino romano or Parmesan (a good parmesan)
2 quarts marinara sauce
1 pound ricotta
pepperoni, sliced thin, what ever amount you like
2 pounds Italian sausage

Cook pasta, mix with marinara, set aside.  Mix the pasta with the marinara in a large pot.  It should be pretty soupy.  The pasta will absorb the marinara as it bakes, so you want enough liquid in there for that.

Cut sausage into small bite sized pieces and fry until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.  Set aside. I cut it before frying then there is more areas for browning.

In a large casserole dish... I used this nice disposable tin because I was sending it into my husbands work but certainly if you are having company over, you could put it in a pretty dish (or even two if you dont have one that big).  Clean up is a snap in one of these disposable tins though.   Spoon a layer, about half of the pasta on the bottom of the dish.  Spread half of sausage over pasta, scattered so everyone gets some sausage when they dig in.  Spread half of mozzarella and Parmesan over top. Sprinkle evenly. Spoon glops of ricotta over pasta- again as even as possible.  It does not need to be covered with ricotta though.

Add the next layer of pasta and repeat process but end with the mozzarella. Lay slices of pepperoni all around. Cover and bake in a 350 F oven. Bake for 45 minutes.  Remove foil and bake 10 or 15 minutes more to brown.  I always forget to do this so mine was not brown.

After you remove it from the oven give it about 10 minutes to set.

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