A classic Italian style feast for four doesn't require a whole day of cooking. In fact, you can make a delicious meal — a pasta dish complete with bread and salad — in 40 minutes. This baked ziti is a tasty alternative to lasagna, and doesn't require all the hassle of cooking meat and making a tomato sauce. Garlic bread bakes with the pasta and the simple crisp salad of endive and arugula comes together while they both bake. This is a wonderful way to get your weekend off to the a scrumptious start, so get the recipe and read more.
For Baked Ziti:
Coarse salt and ground pepper
8 ounces ziti rigate (ridged) or other short pasta
1 cup part-skim ricotta
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
1 jar (24 to 26 ounces) best-quality tomato sauce (about 3 1/2 cups)
For Garlic Bread
1/2 loaf Italian bread (5 ounces)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 garlic cloves, minced
For Italian Salad:
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 head Belgian endive, stem end trimmed, thinly sliced
2 bunches arugula (3 1/2 ounces total), thick stems removed
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions; drain and reserve.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine ricotta, egg, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and half the mozzarella; season with salt and pepper.
- In the bottom of a shallow 2-quart casserole dish, spread half the tomato sauce. Top with ziti, then ricotta mixture and remaining sauce.
- Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan and remaining mozzarella. Place casserole on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until top is browned and sauce is bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare garlic bread: Make deep, even cuts into the bread, about 1/2 inch apart, without cutting through the bottom. In a small bowl, combine butter and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Brush garlic butter between cuts in bread. Wrap bread loosely in aluminum foil, and bake with ziti during last 10 minutes of baking.
- In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar and oil; season with salt and pepper. Add endive and arugula, and toss to coat. Serve baked ziti with salad and garlic bread.