Saucy Baked Ziti

Two nights ago, my husband and I watched in awe as our boys downed two large helpings each of the baked ziti I’d made for dinner.  They rarely finish one serving of any meal, much less ask for seconds!  The following afternoon, we had a late lunch/early dinner of leftover baked ziti.  As I stood at the sink, scraping the boys’ plates of sticky cheese, I was shocked to hear my husband yell, “Dammit!  You can’t make this ever again!”  I turned to see him dishing his third helping of the day.  He said, “It’s too good!”

I don’t imagine I will share too many recipes here, as I am not über-talented in the kitchen.  However, when my family of four finished an entire baked ziti in less than 24 hours, I thought it noteworthy!  (Not to mention, if I can do it, it’s pretty safe to say anyone can.)

Baked ziti has always been my go-to meal to take to friends experiencing one of life’s big moments, like the birth of a new baby or a death in the family, because it is delicious, it freezes well, and it can feed a large group (or, at least, it should).  I only recently attempted to make a gluten-free version for my own family.  If you took the time to read the novel in my About Me section (and I don’t blame if you if you didn’t), you will know that I typically follow a recipe line by line, but I do like to add “more of the good stuff.”  This gluten-freelicious baked ziti is made especially delectable with an excess of sauce and cheese.  It pairs well with a side of Tums.

Saucy Baked Ziti Penne

16 oz package gluten-free pasta (I actually don’t know that a gluten-free ziti even exists.  I like to use Tinkyada or Trader Joe’s brown rice penne.)
6 cups pasta sauce (I like Classico Four Cheese Pasta Sauce.)
4 cups mozzarella cheese
15 oz ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 tbsp parsley
1/4 tsp garlic powder
4 tbsp Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a big bowl, mix hot pasta, 2 1/2 cups sauce, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, egg, oregano, basil, parsley, and garlic powder.

Spread 1 1/2 cups pasta sauce across the bottom of a 13″x9″ pan.  Top with pasta mixture.  Cover with remaining 2 cups sauce.  Sprinkle with 2 cups of mozzarella cheese and 4 tbsp Parmesan cheese.

Cover with aluminum foil.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and bake 10 minutes more, or until cheese is melted.

ENJOY!