Baked Ziti

Warm, filling and overall delicious.

1 box ziti or rigatoni
2 jars of red pasta sauce (any variety will do, just depends on your tastes!)
~1lb of ground beef
1 sweet yellow onion, chopped (Vidalias work great!)
1 package of shredded Italian-style cheese (~2 cups)
1lb of ricotta cheese
1/2 lb of sour cream
2 eggs

1) Preheat oven to 325ºF. Bring pot of water to boil. Heat large, deep pan (I usually use a wok) with ~2tsp of olive oil. Put in onions first till they are brown and beginning to caramelize. Crumble ground beef into the onions and mix well for even browning. Reduce heat to medium while it cooks, uncovered. Season with some garlic powder, ground black pepper, salt and ground ginger to taste. When meat looks cooked, add both jars of pasta sauce. Mix well until everything is incorporated. Cover and allow to simmer on low. Add box of ziti to boiling water in the meantime and cook at a full boil for about 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2) Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, sour cream and eggs until mixed well. It should have a thick, creamy consistency, but not so thick as paste. Set aside. This is the ‘creamy layer.’

3) Drain pasta when it’s finished cooking. DO NOT RINSE. Turn off heat to the meat and sauce mixture. Coat the inside of a large casserole dish with a nonstick spray (like PAM). Begin to layer your ingredients in the dish as follows: pasta –> cheese –> creamy layer –> meat and sauce. Do this in two batches, creating eight total layers (e.g. pasta, cheese, creamy, meat/sauce, pasta, cheese, creamy, meat/sauce), using about half of each component each time.

4) Warning: The dish is going to be very full and very heavy. Cover with tin foil and bake in the oven for about 35-40min. The baked ziti should be thoroughly warmed.

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