Rick’s Baked Ziti with Meat Sauce

Since so many of you liked my humble Chicken Noodle Casserole here’s another oldie but goodie comfort food recipe. If you have the time (and who doesn’t these days) make your best meat sauce. Or, as per this recipe, brown some ground beef and/or Italian sausage, put it in some good jarred sauce, add some cheese, and Roberto is your uncle.

Ingredients

1 lb. Ziti (or Penne)

1 lb. ground beef (or bulk Italian sausage, or a mixture of the two)

½ cup sturdy red wine

2 jars of good spaghetti sauce (I like Rao’s or Emeril’s)

1 teaspoon of oregano

2 8 oz. packages of whole milk mozzarella

2 cups sour cream (or ricotta cheese)

½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Recipe

Boil  plentiful water for pasta while you brown the ground beef over medium high heat. Cook the pasta for about 8 minutes, drain and add a little olive oil to keep it from sticking together.

When the ground beef has no pink in it, add the wine and let it boil down for a few minutes. Add the jars of sauce, add the oregano, and let it all cook down for at least 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 f.

Grease a standard baking pan with olive oil or Pam. Put about a cup of the sauce in the baking dish and spread it evenly. Add half the pasta, the sour cream spread evenly, and one package of the cheese. Add the other half of the pasta, half of the remaining cheese, and the rest of the sauce. Finally, cover with the remaining cheese package and the Parmigiano.

Cook uncovered for about 30 minutes, or until it is bubbling and the cheese on top begins to brown.

Serve with a salad (or frozen green beans, as we did) and a sturdy red wine.

(Photo: R.L. Floyd, 2020)