Baked Ziti with Meat Sauce
- 1/2 pound ziti or penne or other tubular pasta, cooked
- 1 Tbs oil
- 1 28 ounce can tomato puree
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- salt to taste (1/4 tsp?)
- 1 sprig of fresh basil
- 1/2 pound cooked ground beef
- 1/2 pound ricotta
- 1/2 pound mozzarella, cut into 1/4″ cubes
- 2 slices provolone, cut into small dice
- Preheat the oven to 400 F.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain.
- Heat the oil in a saucepan with the garlic and cook just a minute or so, then add the pepper flakes and cook another minute. Add the tomato puree and then rinse the can out with hot water and add to the pan. Stir everything up and bring to a boil. Add the basil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Uncover and add the ground beef and simmer another 5 – 10 minutes. Stir in the ricotta cheese.
- Ladle 1/2 cup of the sauce into the 9×9 pan. Spread half the cooked pasta across the baking dish, add half the mozzarella and half the provolone. Pour 1 cup of sauce over this and spread it out. Add the rest of the pasta, the rest of the cheeses and the last of the sauce.
- Bake at 400 F for 30 minutes, uncovered. Let rest a few minutes before serving.
- Note: You can also assemble this ahead of time and refrigerate. Cook covered with foil for 15 minutes or so to heat everything up, then uncover and bake another 20-25 minutes.