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Baked Ziti Variation


A pretty simple recipe for you today. I know it's 2 pastas in a row, but this works out best for my schedule for the week, and I am definitely excited for this week of posts. Also, this is the totally opposite spectrum of pastas. Friday was the innovative and wacky coffee pasta with a cream sauce. Today is a tweak on a traditional Italian-American dish with tomato sauce. We made it with all pantry items one night when we were craving a cheesy pasta home-style comfort meal. I wasn't even gonna post it cause it is so simple, but it was delicious, and isn't that the point of this website? Stay tuned for a fun week of posts! Later this week is the blog's birthday!

The start of a simple marinara sauce. Onions, a few hot peppers, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes frying in olive oil. This is just after tossing the garlic in. Only let the garlic go about 30 seconds to a minute.

Then add a whole can of tomato paste. One of those real small cans. Cook this for 5 minutes.

This is after adding 2 large cans of tomatoes, parmesan, basil, oregano, balsamic (shown), and a dash of sugar.

Olives and parsley sort of differentiated this sauce.

And frozen peas.

More basil and olives.

Let's play Hide the Ricotta!

This goes in the oven.

Better than TV!

mmm gooey cheesy goodness.

Onions, a few hot peppers, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes in hot olive oil. Cook 10 minutes. Add garlic, but only let the garlic go about 30 seconds to a minute. Then add a small can of tomato paste. One of the real small ones. Stir around for 5 minutes. Add 2 cans of tomatoes, crushing them with your fingers. Add parmesan, oregano, and basil. Add pinch of sugar and glug of balsamic. Add parsley and olives. Cook half hour to an hour. Add to baking dish with cooked pasta, add frozen peas, more olives and basil, and mix.  Sneak in some Ricotta. Cover with mozzarella and bake for 30 minutes. If it isn't brown on top, broil it for 5 minutes.


I love coming to this blog because you guys cook everything that I am trying to eliminate from my diet, namely garlic bread, pastas, and other cheesy things. Yum, yum, yum.

I'm curious, how does balsamic change the taste of the sauce. I usually just use some red wine.

we always used wine too but since we dont usually drink much wine it ends up goin to waste and dont usually have it in the house laying around. so one time decided to try balsamic cause seemed like it would have a similar flavor effect. i like it even a little better. probably because i like balsamic vinegar better than i do wine haha. i dont really know how to describe the difference really? hm maybe a little sweeter? either way the results are pretty similar... mostly just use the balsamic cause always have that in the house!

sorry, but did i miss a description of that fabulously cheesy bread?

There was no description Gansie, it was just bread and oregano and butter and garlic and mozz.

Yum! I like the simply recipes the best. They are humble and always taste good. But then that's just me, as im not into the whole fancy schmanzy world of cooking. I haven't used balsamic either in my sauce, but now id like to try it out instead of the wine.

Oh and that cheesy bread looks super yummy too.

I'm trying to learn to cook new things and this recipe was a great starter for me. I've made your "Bro Week" Baked Chicken with Tomatoes as well. The only problem I ran into while making this was my ricotta cheese went bad in the sealed container. I had some small balls of bocconcini on hand and substituted those as a fix.

Thanks for putting up some recipes people like me can handle :)

Ah-love the recipes. taking my son home to Rochester,gonna go down to nyc. i`d forgotten aboutscungilli . well have to head down lower manhattan and let him try some!

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