June 11, 2013

Need A Use For Leftover Pasta? Try Baked Ziti

Click for Recipe for Baked Rigatoni
Baked Rigatoni

I think I might be becoming semi-obsessive with my tomato plants and their well being. This all started with my oldest insistent that we plant heirlooms this year. I agreed, it would be fun. Fun, hmmm. It has been fun, it also can drive a person crazy. See I tend to lean towards slightly overboard with most projects. I like things to be perfect and right. My son was at my in-laws for the last two weeks so I was excited that his tomatoes would be almost ripe by the time he got back. Then we had a nasty streak of hot and humid weather. I watered the tomatoes like I always do, but one of the plants just wasn't happy. After reading information online, a call to an extension agent and many conversations with friends that grow tomatoes I'm happy to say that his tomatoes are beautiful once again. As for me I think the tomatoes are becoming like another pet, a lot of work with an occasional reward. I hope it will be worth it the end, tomatoes and summer just seem to go hand in hand. This week to welcome my oldest back home I made comfort food. I tried a new recipe for Baked Ziti from the Food Network.

This recipe has 7 ingredients in the ziti and 9 ingredients in the sauce. It takes 50 minutes of total time, 20 minutes of which is active and makes 6 to 8 servings. I did make a few changes to the original recipe. First I used leftover frozen rigatoni pasta that I had made previously. I allowed it to defrost and then followed the rest of the recipe. Instead of Italian sausage I used ground roast chuck that I ground myself. I substituted the exact same amounts as in the original recipe. Since ground beef can be more watery than Italian sausage I allowed the sauce to cook down longer until it was nice and thick. After I put the baked ziti together in a casserole dish I allowed it to sit in the fridge for 4 hours to allow the flavors to soak into the pasta.

I served this recipe when my in-laws were over for dinner. Since I couldn't try the recipe myself I relied on everyone else to voice their opinions. My youngest son fell in love with this dish and told me it was his favorite pasta dish. The opinions expressed by my in-laws were similar. Overall, it was a nice way to use leftover pasta and a recipe I would make again. 

For the recipe go to Baked Ziti.
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