As you can tell by the title, this is the least Paleo-friendly dish EVER – but it’s a fantastic dish to whip up for a group of people. And who doesn’t love cheese? 🙂
Every time my mom has a potluck at work or we need to prepare for an impromptu family gathering, this recipe is my go to because it is quick and easy. Let’s get to it:Gather your ingredients: ziti noodles, pasta sauce, olive oil, whole milk ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, and cheesy garlic bread – because what’s a nice plate of pasta without more carby deliciousness? 🙂 If you feel like getting really fancy, add some asiago cheese to the mix. It adds a nice bite because of it’s sharpness.
Add water, olive oil, and salt to a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat.
Cook your pasta, stirring occasionally, according to the box directions.Drain pasta, and reserve one cup of the pasta water.
Transfer the pasta to a large bowl and add the reserved pasta water. Toss. This will keep the pasta from sticking together. In a large baking dish, pour in some sauce. (If you’d like to make your own sauce, try this one. It’s delicious!)
Spoon in some ricotta cheese and combine with the sauce. Yes, that is a rice scoop. It works incredibly well as a ricotta-spreader. 🙂
Combine the sauce and ricotta. Spread the mixture to coat the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle on the parmesan and/or asiago cheese.
Add in half of your pasta.
Cover liberally with the mozzarella cheese.I think you see where this is going! Making the ziti like a lasagna makes it flavorful and cheesy throughout! Add another layer of sauce.
Combine with ricotta and spread over pasta evenly. Sprinkle with parmesan and/or asiago cheese. Add the remainder of your pasta.Cover the top with as much mozzarella cheese as you can fit. Sprinkle more parmesan and/or asiago if you’re feeling dangerous. Since you’ve shoveled an ungodly amount of cheese on top of your pasta, place the baking dish on a large baking sheet. This will ensure you’re house doesn’t fill with smoke because the cheese bubbled over onto the bottom of the oven. Trust me, I speak from experience. Let the pasta bake at 350 degrees for 40-60 minutes.
Here is the beautifully browned final product. I like my cheese to have a little crisp and crunch on top, so I leave it in for closer to an hour. Be sure to serve with cheesy garlic bread for proper sauce dunking. Enjoy!