Ziti Bake

by Lana Stuart on April 12, 2010 · 18 comments

Ziti Bake

Wow. Do I ever have Spring Fever! The days are longer and warmer and all I want to do is enjoy the sunshine. Nearly to the exclusion of everything else. Including cooking. That’s bad. Especially when you have a food blog!

In case no one noticed, I only did one post last week. One measly little post of Roasted Asparagus. That’s because it’s just about all I’ve cooked in the last week or so that was worthy of posting on a blog. I mean, you wouldn’t want me to write posts about macaroni and cheese or hamburgers or spaghetti now would you? So, after nearly a week of being lazy I decided I had to get in the kitchen and do something. Do something even if it was wrong. But I had no idea what I wanted to do. Standing in front of the refrigerator gazing at its contents was no inspiration at all. The freezer held no revelations either. Then I moved to the pantry and just started pulling out things I thought might go together. A box of ziti, cans of tomatoes, onion, garlic…I thought I was on to something. So I went back to the fridge and got some cheese. It was starting to sound pretty good.

What I finally wound up with was this very easy baked ziti recipe. It was surprisingly good and vegetarian, too. Even BeeBop (Mr. Meat & Potatoes) liked it. A lot. He had seconds.

1 lb. ziti
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, chopped
2 tblsp. olive oil
3 cans diced tomatoes with juice
salt
pepper
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
5 oz. Gruyere cheese, grated
5 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Place a large pot of well salted water on to boil. Cook ziti according to package directions. Set aside.

Grate the cheese and set it aside. I used Gruyere and Cheddar in this because that was what I had on hand. It will be equally good and more traditional with a combination of mozzarella and parmesan.

Chop a medium onion and a large clove of garlic. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the olive oil, onion and garlic and cook until the onion begins to caramelize.

Add tomatoes along with their juice. Add salt and pepper to taste, parsley and basil.

Cook for 8-10 minutes or until liquid has reduced and the tomato sauce is thickened.

Drain the ziti and return to the pan. Add the reduced tomato sauce and 2/3 of the cheese. Mix well.

Turn into an oiled or sprayed casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese and bread crumbs. You can dot the top with butter if you want, but I don’t think it adds much to the finished dish.

Cook for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Ziti Bake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Ziti, tomatoes and cheese topped with bread crumbs and baked until bubbly.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. ziti
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 tblsp. olive oil
  • 3 cans diced tomatoes with juice
  • salt
  • pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • 5 oz. Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 5 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place a large pot of well salted water on to boil. Cook ziti according to package directions. Set aside.
  3. Chop a medium onion and a large clove of garlic. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the olive oil, onion and garlic and cook until the onion begins to caramelize.
  4. Add tomatoes along with their juice. Add salt and pepper to taste, parsley and basil.
  5. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until liquid has reduced and the tomato sauce is thickened.
  6. Drain the ziti and return to the pan.
  7. Add the reduced tomato sauce and ⅔ of the cheese. Mix well. Turn into an oiled or sprayed casserole dish.
  8. Top with remaining cheese and bread crumbs.
  9. Cook for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly.
  10. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Notes
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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 5 Star Foodie April 12, 2010 at 5:56 pm

Sounds great with Gruyere and Cheddar!

Reply

2 Lana April 13, 2010 at 8:13 am

The Gruyere gives a very distinctive taste, so be sure you really like it if you use it in this recipe. Otherwise, you could do all cheddar.

Reply

3 HoneyB April 12, 2010 at 6:13 pm

pasta, tomatoes, cheese….in my book those are magic words! Looks delicious!

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4 Lana April 13, 2010 at 8:12 am

Definitely a great classic combo…pasta, tomatoes and cheese. You’d probably prefer a low-fat option, and I think this would adapt easily to low-fat cheeses.

Reply

5 Barbara @ moderncomfortfood April 12, 2010 at 6:43 pm

I’m so with you on the distractions these longer, warmer days offer. I walked the beaches two days ago, went salt water wade fishing yesterday in front of my house (yes, caught two), and spent all day digging my vegetable garden today. And now I’m eating an OK, but not great, grilled cream cheese and garden chives sandwich for dinner. Not nearly as good as your delicious-looking ziti, which I hope to try. Many thanks for sharing.

Reply

6 Lana April 13, 2010 at 8:12 am

Distractions, yes. But so welcome, aren’t they?

Reply

7 deeba April 12, 2010 at 10:26 pm

I’m glad to decidede to hit the pots and pans. This is a delicious looking bake. It’s nice for a make ahead meal too. Very YUM!!

Reply

8 Lana April 13, 2010 at 8:10 am

Thank you Deeba. This was easy to make and the gruyere gives it a different taste from the typical mozzarella/parm combination.

Reply

9 Heavenly Housewife April 13, 2010 at 4:38 am

Simply scrumptious looking, gorgeous picture. I am going to bookmark this. I have been looking for some great pasta recipes to add to my collection.
Lovely blog.
*kisses* HH

Reply

10 Lana April 13, 2010 at 8:10 am

Thank you! I’m still working on improving my photography. Have a lot to learn but I’ll get there eventually.

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11 Scott K April 13, 2010 at 10:18 am

Love the Gruyere cheese in this! I use a smoked Gruyere in a frittata that is one of my favorite dishes. http://fightthefatfoodie.blogspot.com/2010/01/potato-asparagus-gruyere-frittata.html

Reply

12 Lana April 13, 2010 at 10:25 am

Ohhh….that frittata looks wonderful! And I bet a smoked cheese in this ziti would be great, too.

Reply

13 jenn (Bread + Butter) April 13, 2010 at 4:07 pm

A god pasta bake is what I need right about now. Yum!!!! I’m actually having mac and cheese for dinner tonight. :)

Reply

14 megan April 14, 2010 at 1:54 am

Perfect comfort food!

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15 Peggy April 16, 2010 at 5:47 am

Sounds like a great improvisation to me!

Reply

16 Caveman Cooking April 17, 2010 at 5:42 am

Nothing like a good Ziti! Looks fantastic, Lana!

Reply

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