1. 16 oz. of ziti noodles
2. 8-12 oz. ground beef or sausage (e.g. Italian sausage or pork sausage. I use Jimmy Dean pork sausage that comes in a roll and buy lowfat if they have it.)
3. 48 oz. of mushroom spaghetti sauce
4. 15 oz. ricotta cheese
5. 10 oz. frozen chopped spinach that has been thawed or defrosted in the microwave for a bit (optional)
6. 3 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
7. a little parmesan cheese (grated or shredded)
1. Boil the noodles for the minimum recommended time.
2. Brown the meat and drain the fat.
3. Stir the spaghetti sauce in with the meat and bring to a boil, then remove the meat sauce from the heat.
4. Drain the noodles when they are done and then stir the ricotta and the spinach (if you are using it) with them to make a pasta mixture. You can do this in the pan you used to boil the noodles.
1) Lightly grease a 13 x 9 baking dish before starting.
2) Lightly cover the bottom of the pan with meat sauce.
3) Spread a layer of pasta mixture across the bottom of the pan, one noodle deep.
4) Cover with roughly half of the remaining meat sauce.
5) Top with roughly half of the mozzarella cheese.
6) Sprinkle on a little parmesan cheese for added flavor.
7) Spread on another layer of your pasta mixture, one noodle deep.
8) Cover with the remaining meat sauce.
9) Top with the remaining mozzarella cheese.
10) Sprinkle on a little parmesan cheese.
Option 1) Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Then remove foil and bake uncovered 10 minutes longer or until heated through.
Option 2) You can also cover with foil and then freeze your ziti long term or refrigerate it for a day or two. If frozen: Do not thaw. Bake covered, in 350 degree oven for 2 hours or more until cheese on top melts. If refrigerated: Bake covered, in 350 degree oven for 80 minutes. Then remove foil and bake uncovered for 10 minutes longer or until heated through.
*** Since these take awhile to cook, be sure to allot a little extra baking time. If your ziti gets done early, it can sit for a bit before serving and will still remain warm.
1) Serve with garlic bread and a good green salad. I like to throw apples in the salad too.
2) Serve a lemon or fruit sorbet with tea cookies as a light dessert.