Sometimes I crave gooey melted cheese and when I do there is nothing as satisfying as baked ziti. This ziti was full of ground turkey, which made it super hearty. Granted I decided to eat this at not the most weather appropriate time, but it was still delicious. And as a bonus, I now have one in the freezer for a lazy cooking day. This recipe will make 2 medium sized zitis (more than enough for 2 people, even when one eats like a starving football player) or one very large ziti. I made the two, then had a little leftover for a lunch, and one whole ziti comfortable at home in my freezer, until he is needed...
2 lbs of penne or ziti
1 15 oz container of ricotta cheese
1 cup of Parmesan cheese, divided
8 oz of mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 lb of ground turkey (or beef)
2 cans of tomato sauce
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 medium shallot
1 clove of garlic
1 handful of fresh basil
1 tsp of dried oregano
salt, pepper and red pepper flakes (to taste)
Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook the pasta to al dente. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Dice the shallot and garlic and add to the pan, cook for about a minute, then add in the sauce, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. When the sauce is hot, stir in the ground meat. In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta with 1/2 a cup of Parmesan, a handful of the mozzarella, and the egg. When the pasta is done cooking. Divide it into two baking dishes if you are making 2 zitis, or pour into 1 large baking dish. Stir in the cheese mixture, then the sauce mixture. Top with the remaining Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese. Cook uncovered for 35-40 minutes for the smaller dish, or 50-55 minutes for the larger one, until the top has browned and the sauce is bubbling. If freezing, allow to cool down then cover with tinfoil and put flat in the freezer. To cook from oven, bake at a 350 degree oven for about an hour.