Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Baked Ziti

We've been eating a wee bit more frugally lately. In addition, I've been trying to force myself to make dinners that save well for lunches. Too that end, we had another pasta/casserole type meal last night that used plenty of pantry staples and two ingredients I had on hand in the fridge from previous meals.

Baked Ziti with Ground Pork

This is a version of the Double Cheese Penne I've made many times before. And for meat & dairy eaters, what's not to like. Pasta! Pork/Sausage! Double Cheese!!!

This version:
1/2 ground pork
1 tsp olive oil
ground fennel


1/2 pound loose/bulk sausage.

Cook pork until cooked through. Try not to break the meat up into too small of bites. Most of it will break up on it's own. If some pieces stay more bite size, leave them. The texture is nice with the sauce and the cheese later.

When cooked through, set aside in a bowl.

Using the same pan, add

1 TB olive oil
4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 14 oz. can tomato puree (or 1 can diced tomatoes whizzed in the food processor)
1/2 heaping tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp sugar (my sauce seemed bitter--maybe from the garlic, so I balanced with some sweetness)
1/2 8 oz can of tomato sauce

Cook the garlic in the olive oil until fragrant. Add the basil and stir to incorporate. Add the tomato puree and sauce. Simmer for five minutes. Taste and adjust for seasoning.

Add the ground pork to the tomato sauce.

Cook 1/2 lb of ziti or other tubular pasta. When al dente, add to the sauce.

Pour pasta/sauce mix into a baking dish. Sprinkle with:

1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 cup shredded mozzarella

Bake for 15 minutes until melted, gooey and golden brown. Delicious.

We both had plenty for dinner and two containers for lunch! Woot.

And because it's fun...

A kitteh in a box. Boomer has developed a fondness for her empty box. When I'm annoying her and invading her personal space, she retreats to her box for a little R&R away from my grasp. The mouse...her second favorite toy. Her first? A torn strip of linen. She's always up for a rousing game of ribbon batting. Like kids, she's just as excited by the empty box and torn fabric as she is by the store bought toy!


Brave Astronaut said...

I once made baked ziti and accidentally doubled the cheese. Now I "accidentally" double the cheese every time.

Dancer in DC said...

I will say that the thyme was my suggestion, and I'm not sure it was the best idea. It gets a bit overpowering as an herb.

Regardless, it's a warm delicious meal that reheats very nicely for lunch or a second dinner.

Lauren said...

Looks Tasty! It just so happens that I was planning on making baked ziti this weekend. Working out the recipe in my head at the store, mine will probably include various italian cheeses, and ricotta. Mayhaps it's more like lasagna...but I like lasagna so I think that'll be okay. :)