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Baked Ziti

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Servings: 8

Prep Time: 00:30

Cook Time: 01:00

Main Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

1 1/2 tsp minced garlic

1 lb ground beef

1 lb italian sausage (if you buy it in links, just remove the casing)

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes

1 (24 oz) jar marinara sauce (recommend barilla marinara)

1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce

1 tsp italian seasoning

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

1/3 cup cottage cheese (or 1 (4oz) container)- this is my secret ingredient, it helps keep the cheese from drying out

2 (8 oz) bags shredded mozzarella cheese

1 (15 oz) container ricotta cheese

1/2 cup grated parmesan

1 egg, beaten

1 tsp dried parsley

1 (16 oz) box penne pasta

1 tbsp kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning

​pepper, for seasoning

Preparation

1In a large saucepan heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add Onion to pan and cook until starting to brown. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute, until fragrant.

2Add ground beef and Italian sausage to pan and cook until brown, breaking up the meat as it cooks.

3Add diced tomatoes, marinara, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper to sauce pan. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

4Fill a second saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add 1 tbsp kosher salt and Penne Pasta. Stir to keep noodles from sticking together. Cook pasta until Al Dente - the pasta should still have a slight bite to it, about 5-7 minutes. Drain pasta and run cold water over it until all pasta is cool to the touch.

5In a large bowl, combine cottage cheese, 1 bag (8 oz) of Mozzarella, ricotta cheese, grated Parmesan, egg, parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Mix until just combined, try not to over mix - lumps are fine here.

6Add pasta to cheese mixture and stir until just combined. Once again, try not to over mix here, there will be lumps of cheese remaining.

7Coat a 9x13" baking pan with cooking spray. Add 1 cup of sauce mixture to the bottom of the pan. Add 1/2 of the pasta mixture to the pan and spread into an even layer. Add 1/2 of the sauce and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle 1/2 of the remaining bag of Mozzarella over the sauce. Add remaining pasta to the pan and spread into an even layer, followed by the remaining sauce and a final layer of Mozzarella.

8Cook in a 350F oven for 20 - 25 minutes - the edges should be bubbling slightly.

9Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. If you don't let it rest, it will be messy when you serve it.

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