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Baked Ziti

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Baked Ziti

2 lbs. ground chuck
1 lb. Italian sausage, mild or hot
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, diced
8 oz. can tomato paste [See note.*]
2 28-oz. cans tomato sauce
1 T. brown sugar 
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 t. Italian seasoning
2 Bay leaves
1 t. Sriracha or Tabasco sauce
1 t. prepared mustard
1 t. salt 
1/2 t. pepper
1 c. beef broth
1 lb. ziti or other pasta, cooked to al dente 
2 c. grated mozzarella cheese
1 c. grated Parmesan cheese 

Brown the meat and drain; add the onion and garlic. Cook until vegetables are soft. 

Add the tomato paste and stir for 5 minutes to bloom the paste. Add the tomato sauce, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, Bay leaves, Sriracha sauce, prepared mustard, salt, pepper, and beef broth. 

Cover, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally and add more broth, if necessary. Remove Bay leaves.  [*Or use 2 quarts of your favorite commercial spaghetti sauce.]

Combine with cooked pasta and pour into a large greased casserole dish. Cover and bake at 350 degrees. Remove cover and sprinkle evenly with cheeses. Bake an additional 15 minutes, uncovered, until cheeses are melted and casserole is bubbling. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

This can be made up to two days ahead of time and refrigerated. Bake for 45-60 minutes the first time, until the casserole is heated through and bubbling.  

This is a great opportunity to get flavor into to the pasta. I add 2 packets Knorr Beef or Chicken Stock Concentrate to the water used to cook the pasta. Use a few bouillon cubes or flavor paste or whatever floats your boat. You won't be sorry. 

Comments (6)

About the Author
Linda (LRuthers)



     I'm convinced that there are many more bad recipes than there are bad cooks. The problem is that sometimes decent cooks use bad recipes and then believe that the poor results are their fault.

     When people print recipes in cookbooks, magazines, etc. or when they post them online, they seldom tell the pitfalls or the little tips needed to make the recipe turn out well. And, too, quite a few printed recipes contain typos!

     I search for recipes that are good. Dependable. I'm not a chef. I'm a mother and grandmother who's been cooking for >45 years.

     I believe that any recipe posted for the general public should be one that I can master. If not, there's something wrong with the recipe.

     I post my successes and my failures, and tell what I learned when following each new recipe. I learn more from my mistakes. I don't know what that says about me.

     The very best recipes are the ones that are inexpensive, delicious AND easy. And there are a lot of those.

     Sometimes, I spend a little more and work a little harder for a recipe that seems to be one that will make people really happy.

Thanks, Linda

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