Sunday, November 6, 2011

Baked Ziti

The Sopranos is one of the greatest TV shows ever made, in my opinion. And it's that mafia show that inspired this dish. In one of the episodes, Junior Soprano makes a comment about recognizing Carmela's baked ziti because of the layer of basil leaves in it. That little scene stuck with me for years. I knew when I got around to coming up with my own ziti recipe, it'd have a layer of basil leaves in it. And here it is, basil leaves and all.

Guess who couldn't wait for me to take a picture before he helped himself?

2 cups pasta
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons milk
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 cup Prego Roasted Red Pepper tomato sauce
1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves
3 slices sandwich bread, torn
1 tablespoon butter, melted
garlic powder, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss bread, butter, and garlic powder together in a bowl and set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Thinly coat the bottom of an 8x8-inch casserole dish with a little bit of tomato sauce. In a bowl, mix ricotta, Parmesan, 1/3 cup mozzarella, and milk together. Pour half of the cooked pasta into the casserole dish. Spread the ricotta mixture over the pasta. Sprinkle with the basil leaves. Spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce over the basil leaves and ricotta mixture. Add the rest of the pasta then the remaining tomato sauce. Sprinkle with the rest of the mozzarella. Arrange torn bread on the top of the casserole. Bake for 30 minutes. Enjoy!



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