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Baked Ziti with Mushroom Sauce

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Baked Ziti with Mushroom Sauce

Baked Ziti with Mushroom Sauce

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This might be comfort food at its best—pasta and ricotta cheese combine with a rich tomato mushroom sauce baked until bubbly and golden. Serve the baked pasta with a mixed green salad and some garlic bread (see Recipe Notes).

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups chopped cremini or button mushrooms
  • 3 1/2 cups homemade tomato sauce, or one 25-ounce jar tomato sauce
  • 1 pound whole or part-skim ricotta
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 12 ounces ziti
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preparation:

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan or 4-quart Dutch-oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until onion is beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, egg, basil, salt, and pepper to taste and mix until well blended.

3. Add the ziti to the boiling water, stirring to prevent sticking. Cook until just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and return to the cooking pot.

4. Spread some of the tomato-mushroom mixture over bottom of a 13-by- 9-inch baking dish. In a large bowl, combine the drained pasta, tofu mixture, remaining tomato-mushroom mixture, and the chopped parsley, and fold gently to blend.

5. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish and spread evenly. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan and the mozzarella. Place the casserole on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until the top is browned and the sauce is bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve hot with the garlic bread (below).

Recipe Notes

• To make the garlic bread: Take a half loaf of crusty Italian bread, and make deep, even cuts into the bread, about 1/2 inch apart, without cutting through the bottom (as if you were cutting it into slices). In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of melted butter. 2 cloves of minced garlic, and season with salt and pepper; stir well to blend. Brush the garlic butter between the cuts in the bread. Wrap the bread loosely in aluminum foil, and bake with the ziti during last 10 minutes. Serve warm with the ziti.
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