Baked Ziti

    similar to the Cook's Illustrated version

Serves: 8-10

1 lb whole milk cottage cheese or 1 percent cottage cheese (see note)
2 lg eggs , lightly beaten
3 oz grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 cups)
Table salt
1 lb ziti or other short, tubular pasta (I use have regular and half whole wheat)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
5 med garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 5 teaspoons)
1 (28-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 c plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tsp sugar
Ground black pepper
3/4 tsp cornstarch
1 c heavy cream
8 oz low-moisture whole-milk mozzarella cheese , cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. 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 (do not wash Dutch oven).

 

2. Meanwhile, heat oil and garlic in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until garlic is fragrant but not brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and oregano; simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes. Off heat, stir in cup basil and sugar, then season with salt and pepper.

3. Stir cornstarch into heavy cream in small bowl; transfer mixture to now-empty Dutch oven 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 1 cup mozzarella, then stir to combine. Add pasta and stir to coat thoroughly with sauce.

4. Transfer pasta mixture to 13- by 9-inch baking dish and spread remaining tomato sauce evenly over pasta. Sprinkle remaining 1/2  cup mozzarella and remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan over top. Cover baking dish tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

5. 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 2 tablespoons basil and serve.

 

www.flordiaquiltnetwork.com