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Ma’s Baked Ziti

Ma’s Baked Ziti

This is my mother-in-law’s baked ziti recipe that is a staple for Christmas. She was an Irish woman from Brooklyn that made an incredible Italian dish. It’s just not Christmas if we don’t have sauce on the stove all day with family members and guests sneaking a piece of bread to dip in the sauce to test it throughout the day. When my beloved mother-in-law passed (may she rest in peace), there was a moment of panic when they thought the ziti recipe was gone as well. Luckily she had passed on the recipe to me years before – in fact, I had taken over the ziti making duties for a number of years already. I was honored that she entrusted me with such an important tradition. She liked to make it in a crock pot, but I like to just keep it simmering on the stove. I’ve changed the meatball recipe and make my own marinara sauce for the ziti (she used to just use canned tomato sauce for ease) but the rest is mostly just as she passed it on to me. She is incredibly missed but we keep her memory living on with this amazing dish. We love you ma.

Sauce
Should cook in a crock pot on high all day, or simmer on the stove for 6 hours.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 diced onion
4-5 garlic cloves
12 oz tomato paste
2 cans of tomato puree (total of 24 oz)
1 can of water
Dried basil
Dried oregano,
Salt
Chianti
Pinch of sugar
4 lbs of Italian sausage
Italian Meatballs

In a large pot, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Pour 12 oz can of tomato paste into pan with ½ can of water. Then add tomato puree and 1 can of water. Coat top of pot with dried basil, dried oregano, salt, chianti and a touch of sugar.

Brown sausages in a pan (about 3 minutes a side), then add them to the sauce. Bake meatballs in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, then add them to the sauce as well. Cook sauce for 5-6 hours, stirring occasionally and skimming fat.

Ziti
2 lbs penne
2 lbs ricotta cheese
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan and romano cheese blend
3 tablespoons of chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon Salt
2 eggs
1 lb mozzarella shredded (1/2 mixed in, ½ on top)
Marinara sauce

Mix cheeses and eggs, then pasta and salt
Mix in some sauce into the pasta mixture

Coat bottom of the pan with marinara sauce, then add pasta, then a layer of sliced cooked sausage (just cooked in microwave), then sauce and cheese.
Bake 45 minutes on 375

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