Sunday, February 15, 2009

Baked Ziti

I love casseroles, because you can “cook once and eat twice.” They are economical on the budget and on my time. And who doesn’t love baked pasta dishes? This is a hearty dish that pleases many palates. I’ve made this baked ziti for friends with children and for a friend preparing to run in a race. It’s easy to prepare and delicious, even as leftovers!

16 ounce package of ziti
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2-26 ounce jars of spaghetti sauce
1 pound ground beef
1 package of sweet Italian sausage
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounce package of mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil

½ teaspoon sugar
1 ½ cups sour cream
8 ounces provolone cheese
12 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook ziti according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

In a large saucepan, sauté onion in olive oil for approximately 3-5 minutes, until translucent. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add mushrooms and sauté for another 5 minutes until mushrooms are softened. Set aside in a bowl.

In the same saucepan, brown the ground beef and sausage. Drain excess liquid. Combine the meat mixture, vegetables, and spaghetti sauce in the saucepan. When sauce boils, reduce to a simmer and add the rosemary, oregano, basil, and sugar. Salt and pepper to taste.

In a lightly greased casserole pan, place a few spoonfuls of sauce on the bottom of the pan. Layer half of the ziti. Layer the provolone cheese, then the sour cream. Spoon half of the sauce. Layer the remaining ziti. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over ziti. Spoon in remaining sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted throughout.

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