Sunday, June 20, 2010

Neapolitan Baked Ziti

This one has a lot of steps, but it's delicious and well worth the work.


Serves: 4-6


1 lb ziti
2Tbsps extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 medium medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, grated or minced
1 can whole plum tomatoes (28 ounces)
4-5 basil leaves, torn
Salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbsps butter
3 Tbsps flour
2 cups of milk
1 fresh or dried bay leaf
Grated nutmeg
1 large ball fresh mozzarella, diced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese


Pre-heat oven 400 degrees.

Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring to boil to cook ziti. Once boiling, add some salt and the pasta, and cook just shy of al dente. Drain.

While the water is coming to a boil, start the red sauce: place a medium-sized saucepot over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pot of EVOO, about 2 Tbsps. Add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring every now and then until the onions start to get tender, about 3-4 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and smash them up into small pieces with a potato masher or the back of a spoon. Add the basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

Once you have the red sauce working, make the white sauce: Place a medium-sized saucepot pver medium heat and melt the butter. Add the flour, stir to combine and cook for about a minute. Whick in the milk, add the bay leaf and season with some salt, pepper and nutmeg. Bring to a bubble, turn the heat down to low and gently simmer, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and discard.

Combine the cooked ziti with the red sauce in the pot the pasta was cooked in and transfer everything to a baking dish. Top with the white sauce. Sprinkle the mozzarella and grated parmesan cheeses over the top, transfer to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.

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