Sunday, May 29, 2011

Baked Ziti (Rigatoni)

I've been MIA for the past couple of weeks! I've been swamped with everything going on in classes. This week is officially dead week. Dead week is really a nickname for the week before finals and let me tell you, that name is true in every way, shape and form. It's not even the first day of dead week and I'm already feeling the pressure.

In honor of dead week, I have cooked up something savory, Baked Ziti, or in this case, Baked Rigatoni! Essentially, it's lasagna without all the layering. Plus, it makes a ton of food and keeps for a long time in the refrigerator. Baked Ziti is perfect for people who don't have the time to always be cooking throughout the week. Plus, with it, you always know that you have something to eat and have nothing to worry about! :)

-To the garlic, I added 1/2 a medium onion and I added 1 lb of ground beef as well to give the Baked Ziti a heartier appeal. (Can definitely be omitted.)

-I used a 32 ounce jar of marinara sauce instead of using the canned tomatoes. Makes everything a lot easier. In a way, I just made a basic meat sauce.

- I cooked the Rigatoni Pasta until Aldente. Make sure not to overcook the pasta!

Taste: Aldente Rigatoni pasta, tanginess and meatiness from the meat sauce, creaminess from the b├ęchamel sauce with a hint of nutmeg as an undertone and, of course, the ooey-gooey melted cheese that everyone loves!

Texture: Aldente pasta and heartiness and creaminess from all the sauces

Scuderi Kids' Fast, Fake-Baked Ziti
Recipe By Rachael Ray

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 3 turns of the pan
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 a medium onion
1 lb ground beef
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes (recommended: San Marzano)
1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, (recommended: San Marzano)* If San Marzanos are not available, add a teaspoon sugar to your sauce, optional (I used a 32 ounce jar of marinara sauce)
Coarse salt
A handful fresh basil leaves, torn
1 pound ziti rigate, with ridges (I used Rigatoni)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste
A generous grating nutmeg (I used 1/8 tsp nutmeg)
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup shredded asiago cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 cup sliced fresh mozzarella
Crusty bread, to pass at table

Put pasta water on to boil.

In a medium sauce pot over medium heat, saute garlic and onions in extra-virgin olive oil. Add 1 lb of ground beef and brown. Chop whole tomatoes and add them to the pan. Add crushed tomatoes and salt and simmer 10 minutes, add basil and simmer over low heat 10 minutes more. Instead of adding the tomatoes, use one 32 ounce jar of marinara sauce. Season to taste

Add salt and pasta to boiling water and cook 6 minutes, leaving pasta a little chewy.

While pasta cooks, melt butter in a small pot over medium heat. Whisk in flour, then cook 1 minute, adding salt and pepper and nutmeg to flour. Add milk and bring sauce to a bubble. Reduce 5 minutes.

Drain pasta and transfer to a large casserole dish. Pour the tomato and basil sauce over the pasta and turn to coat the pasta. Pour the bechamel over the already coated pasta. Cover the top of the pasta with Asiago, Parmesan and mozzarella. Place the casserole under hot broiler and melt the 3 cheeses until brown and bubbly, 3 to 5 minutes.

-Aaron John


  1. YUM- that pasta looks delicious! Great blog- love the title and pictures. Please visit my blog, Picky Eater Solutions, and leave some tips that have been helpful to you and your blog- I really appreciate it. Thanks so much.

  2. Thank you so much! Sorry for the late reply. I'mm go over and take a look at your blog! :)

  3. stupid idiot you cant make baked ziti with regatoni! thats baked regatoni! stupid!

  4. @anon Obviously I know that..... That is why in the blog post I said "In honor of dead week, I have cooked up something savory, Baked Ziti, or in this case, Baked Rigatoni"..... Calling me a "stupid idiot" for using Rigatoni was really uncalled for because it was in my post. Next time, read the whole post before putting your opinion out there with rude comments


Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment! :)

-Aaron John


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