I love baked pasta casserole. They are hardy and tend to have lots of leftovers, a great perk for a Sunday dinner. We have enjoyed Baked Ziti (or as I used to call it as a child- BIG Ziti) off and on and it is always a hit. Here is a our simple recipe that we always follow. Add in any veggies you may have laying around to give it a more of a lasagna flair. Makes a wonderful "dinner is in an hour" meal.
1 pound of whole-grain ziti pasta
30 Oz Ricotta Cheese
16 OZ shredded mozzerlla
1 egg, beaten
16 OZ tomato sauce
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 TBS Basil
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
16 oz mushrooms, sliced
8 oz sliced black olives
1. Cook the pasta in water until it is al dente, drain and set-aside
2.In a separate bowl beat the egg and then whisk in the ricotta and mozzarella cheese Add in the tomato sauce and mix until well combined. Set aside.
3. In a skillet add the onion with a little cooking oil until translucent. Add in the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms have released their water. Stir in the garlic and the basil. Saute for 5 minutes. Add to the bowl of ricotta and sauce you have set aside. Stir in the mushroom and onion mixture. Add in the black olives and stir into the mix.
4. In a large 8X10 casserole dish, grate a little lemon zest across the bottom and pour in the pasta noodles. Pour the ricotta and sauce mixture over the noodles and top with the Parmesan cheese.
5. Bake for 30 minutes at 375 F. Allow to stand and set for about 15-20 minutes before serving.