A long while ago one of my closest friends suggested I post a recipe for Baked Ziti. I did a little research and felt like Baked Ziti was boring and below my skill level. I made something else and posted it and that was that.
Or was it?
So I've been dating this chick and we get along really well and I like her very much and she's pretty much the best baker that I've ever met and cooks really well, too. She's a little more devoted to measuring cups and such than I am, though, which makes sense since she's a baker. I think it's cute. If she reads this, she might be all like "what are you talking about?" It might be in my mind and I might just not want to admit that she's a better chef than I am, too, and has intuition in the kitchen every bit as good as mine if not much better.
As usual, I digress. The point is that we made Baked Ziti together and it was some of the best stuff I've ever had in my life. The recipe comes from Cooks Illustrated originally and was reposted on this site: http://thefloursack.blogspot.com/2012/07/baked-ziti.html. We changed a couple things.
As a practical manner, I normally buy the HEB brand tomato sauces. HEB, as you've seen me write before, makes some damn tasty stuff. But I saw Newman's Own for $1.88 a jar. I thought that this was a really good price, because for some reason I'd thought these were normally $4.98 a jar. So we use this stuff and it's pretty much world-dominating. For all I know, the Baked Ziti recipe sucks and Newman's Own salvaged it. I'll make it with Newman's Own again.
Just so you know: Blogger is doing something funky with the design of the ingredients. I'm too lazy to correct the html. TLDR: I'm lazy.
1 lb. Cottage Cheese2 Eggs beaten
1.5 c. (or much more) Grated Asiago
0.25 c. Kosher Salt
1 lb. Ziti
2 tbsp. Olive Oil
7 Cloves Garlic Minced
24 oz. jar Newman's Own Tomato Sauce
8 oz. can Tomato Sauce (store-brand relatively bland rubbish, it is!)
14.5 oz. can Diced Tomatoes
1 tsp. Oregano
1 tsp. Sea Salt
0.5 tsp. Pepper
0.125 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Sugar
Big Bunch Basil
1 c. Heavy Cream
1 tsp. Cornstarch
10 oz. Low-Moisture Mozzarella cubed
Boil the Ziti with 0.25 c. Kosher Salt. When Pasta is close to completion, pull out. Of the heat. Drain and set aside.
Mix Cottage Cheese, beaten Eggs, and 1 c. Asiago Cheese in medium bowl.
Fragrantize the Garlic in the Olive Oil for about 30 seconds. Don't brown. I was trying to brown it and then my lady hit me and said "don't brown it. Can't you read!" I can read. I just happened not to have. Stir in Newman's Own Tomato Sauce, Diced Tomatoes, Oregano, Salt n Pepper, and Cinnamon. Allow to thicken for a few minutes, remove from heat, and stir in the Basil and Sugar.
Whisk Heavy Cream and Cornstarch and simmer until thickened. Remove from heat add Cottage Cheese medley, 1 c. of the Tomato Sauce, and 0.75 of the Mozzarella. Add Pasta and mix well.
Pour everything into a baking dish or Dutch oven and pour the remaining Tomato Sauce and Cheeses on top. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350. Remove foil and bake another 30 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes, if you dare, and then gorge.