Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Baked Ziti

I first heard about Baked Ziti when I was watching The Sopranos.  I was immediately intrigued and have tried several recipes since.  This is the recipe I've cobbled together that everyone seems to love.  I tested it out on my sister-in-law who is Italian and she said it's better than her Grandmothers which was high praise indeed.  What I love most about this recipe is the cost, it's so cheap to make consisting of basic frugal ingredients.  If you're sick of the usual bolognaise based dishes like lasagne and meatballs, definitely give this a go.


For the tomato sauce-

  • Olive Oil
  • 1 lb Italian Sausage, removed from casing*
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 500g of passata
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
For the bechamel-
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz) butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • grating of nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
To assemble-
  • 1lb (dry weight) ziti or penne pasta, cooked and drained
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella

Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F.

Cook ziti according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Heat some olive oil in a large skillet. Saute the onions until slightly softened and add sausage, stirring to break up.  Once browned, add garlic, sugar and oregano. Stir in passata and tomatoes and simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Taste for seasoning and season with salt, pepper and/or sugar to your taste.

Meanwhile, make the bechamel.  Heat butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan.  Add butter and stir for a minute.  Slowly whisk in milk and bring to a boil.  Once thickened, remove from heat and stir in nutmeg and parmesan.  Season with salt and pepper. 

Grease a 9x13 casserole dish with butter and layer half the pasta, half the meat sauce and half the bechamel in it.  Repeat and top with mozzarella.  Bake for 30-40 minutes until bubbling.  Allow to stand 10-15 minutes before serving.

* If you cannot get Italian sausage, use normal Irish or herb sausages and add a tablespoon of fennel seeds, an additional tablespoon of oregano, teaspoon of basil and a quarter teaspoon of chilli flakes.


1 comment:

  1. Yummmmmm! Thanks for listing me here =) I'm an ENFP too!!!


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