When you want to feed a crowd without spending hours working in the kitchen, follow these steps to make an Italian dish that's sure to please the whole family.
You Will Need
* 1 16-oz. box penne pasta
* 1 28-oz. jar marinara sauce
* 2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
* 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
* A 2-quart baking dish
* A large pot
* A colander
* 8 oz. cooked ground beef or sausage (optional)
Step 1: Preheat oven and coat baking dish
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and coat the two-quart baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside.
Step 2: Cook pasta and drain
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook the pasta just less than the recommended time, drain the pasta in the colander, and return it to the pot.
Don't shake the colander – let a little bit of the water cling to the noodles to keep them moist.
Step 3: Stir the sauce and one cup of the mozzarella with the pasta
Add the sauce and one cup of the mozzarella cheese to the pasta pot. Stir and mix well.
Add cooked ground beef or sausage to give the baked ziti an extra kick.
Step 4: Pour the mixture and top with cheese
Pour the pasta mixture from the pot into the prepared baking dish, and spread the mixture smooth. Top it with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
Step 5: Bake for 30 minutes
Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is brown and the cheese is bubbly. Let it set for 10 minutes before serving.
Fact: As early as the 1300s, Italian sailors carried dried pasta on their voyages. Its long shelf life and high nutritional value made it a staple.