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We had a fantastically free weeknight, which was perfect for the gazillion shows we needed to catch up on. Our DVR has been jam-packed. We haven’t really had a night off recently, but yesterday was the day. The glorious day to catch up on our new favorite show, Gotham. YESSSSSSS. We’re really talking about a crazy Wednesday night over here, folks.

I decided since we were going to be planted firmly on the couch most of the night that I would make a casserole of some sort. Something that I could just throw in the oven and wait for the timer to go off. DING.

I found this awesome recipe while browsing through The Pioneer Woman’s website – baked ziti. It is SO creamy and full of flavor. Even better, you can make it ahead of time and simply toss it in the oven when you (and the seven other people it can feed!) are starting to feel a bit hungry.

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Baked Ziti

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 whole Large Onion, Diced
  • 1 pound Italian Sausage
  • 1 pound Ground Beef
  • 1 can (28 Oz. Size) Whole Tomatoes, With Juice
  • 2 cans (14.5 Ounce) Tomato Sauce Or Marinara Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 16 ounces, weight Ziti Or Mostaciolli, Cooked Until Not Quite Al Dente
  • 1 tub (15 Oz. Size) Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
  • 1-1/2 pound Mozzarella Cheese, Grated
  • 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 whole Egg
  • Fresh Minced Parsley

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for several minutes, or until starting to soften. Add Italian sausage and ground beef and cook until browned. Drain off fat, leaving a bit behind for flavor and moisture.
  2. Add tomatoes, tomato juice, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Stir and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. After that time, remove 3 to 4 cups of the sauce to a different bowl to cool down.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, 2 cups of the grated mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, and salt and pepper. Stir together just a couple of times (do not mix completely).
  5. Drain the pasta and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking and cool it down. Pour it into the bowl with the cheese mixture and toss to slightly combine (there should still be large lumps.) Add the cooled meat sauce and toss to combine.
  6. Add half the coated pasta to a large casserole dish or lasagna dish. Spoon half of the remaining sauce over the top, then top with half the remaining mozzarella cheese. Repeat with another layer of the coated pasta, the sauce, and the mozzarella.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbling. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.
  8. Sprinkle chopped parsley over the pasta before serving

Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman

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Side note, can you BELIEVE the Gotham finale??? I don’t think I’ll make it til next year…this will be so painful! Anyways, don’t forget to leave me a comment to let me know what you think (of the baked ziti or Gotham, of course).