When you plan to have company over you need a dish that’s easy to prepare and will yield multiple servings. Baked ziti is my go-to meal for just those reasons. Similar to lasagna but even easier to make and serve, my baked ziti recipe is sure to please. It’s the ultimate cheesy, indulgent comfort food, and luckily this dish almost always leaves leftovers you can enjoy for days!
- 1 pound cottage cheese
- 2 large eggs , lightly beaten
- 3 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 ½ cups)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 pound ziti or other short, tubular pasta
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 (32 oz.) jar marinara sauce
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
- ground black pepper
- ¾ teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 8 oz. low-moisture, whole-milk mozzarella cheese cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1 to ½ cups)
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees F. Whisk cottage cheese, eggs, and 1 cup Parmesan together in medium bowl; set aside. Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in large Dutch oven over high heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon salt and add pasta; cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta begins to soften but is not yet cooked through, about 7 minutes. Drain pasta and leave in colander (do not wash Dutch oven).
2. Stir cornstarch into heavy cream in small bowl; transfer mixture to now-empty Dutch oven set over medium heat. Bring to simmer and cook until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Remove pot from heat and add cottage cheese mixture, 1 cup marinara sauce, basil, and ¾ cup mozzarella, then stir to combine. Add pasta and stir to coat thoroughly with sauce.
4. Transfer pasta mixture to 13- by 9-inch baking dish and spread remaining marinara sauce evenly over pasta. Sprinkle remaining ¾ cup mozzarella and remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan over top. Cover baking dish tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
5. Remove foil and continue to cook until cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown, about 30 minutes longer. Cool for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons basil.
Will you add any special extras or nontraditional twists to this baked ziti recipe?