So after we made spaghetti and meatballs, we had a whole lot of sauce left over, and no noodles. Since we wanted to make something a little different, we decided to do baked ziti instead of more spaghetti....I think you will be glad we did!
Here's what you will need:
4 cups of spaghetti sauce (our recipe is here). If you need to make it quick, I will give instructions for a basic sauce at the end of this recipe...)
1 pound of ziti or pene
1 pound whole milk cottage cheese (instead of ricotta. cottage cheese works better)
2 large eggs lightly beaten
3 ounces shaved or shredded parmesan
1/2 cup chopped basil
3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
1 cup heavy cream
8 oz low-moisture mozarella cheese cut into small pieces.
2 cups frozen spinach
8 - 10 meatballs chopped up (optional - we had a few left from our spaghetti dinner)
Place the oven rack in the middle & pre-heat the oven to 350.
Whisk cottage cheese, eggs 1 cup parmesan together in a medium bowl & set aside.
Cook your pasta 1/2 way. About 5 minutes. it should be slightly softened but not fully cooked. Drain pasta & set it aside.
Heat 2 cups of spinach over medium heat until the water is gone. Chop up meatballs and set aside.
Stir cornstarch into heavy cream in your pasta pot. Heat over medium heat to a simmer and cook until it starts to thicken.
Remove from heat & add cottage cheese mixture, 1 cup of tomato sauce, 3/4 cup of mozarella, 1/2 cup parmesan spinach and meatballs.
Add your pasta & stir until all your pasta is evenly coated.
Transfer your mixture to a baking dish (we had to use both a 9 x 13" and an 8 x 8" pan)
spread remaining tomato sauce evenly over the pasta and sprinkle with your remaining mozarella and parmesan over the top.
Cover your baking dishes with tin foil & bake for 30 minutes.
Remove foil & continue to bake until cheese is golden brown and bubbly - about 20 - 30 minutes.
Remove from oven & cool for 15 - 20 minutes and sprinkle with chopped up basil. Serve!
If you need to make a quick tomato sauce, you will need the following:
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 garlic cloves minced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon oregano
Heat oil and garlic in 12" skillet over medium heat until garlic is fragrant but not brown. Stir in tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and oregano. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat add sugar, salt & pepper and some fresh basil.