When I made this dish I thought of it to be very similar to lasagna but different. Isn’t that the way of some recipes? That is why I love to cook. You change up a few ingredients or the process of it and it changes it but it feels familiar and still tastes just as delicious. You can’t go wrong with pasta.
1 pkg (16oz) of Zita, Penne, Ziti or similar Pasta
1 15oz Whole Ricotta Cheese
1 ½ cups of Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
¾ cup grated Parmesan Cheese
½ cup Parsley, chopped
Basil – sliced or Chiffonade – for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Minced the Garlic and chop the Onions
In a Dutch oven or large sauté pan, cook the onions until soft. Add in the garlic and cook until aromatic. Cook the ground beef and sausage or pork on medium to medium-high heat and season with Salt and Pepper. Remove the meat mixture and discard excess fat.
In the same pan, on medium heat add in the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste and fire roasted tomatoes. Stir together. Add in ¼ cup Red Wine, seasonings, red pepper flakes and Salt and Pepper. Stir all together and simmer on low for about 15 minutes to cook off the wine. Add in the Meat mixture and simmer on low for about another 15 minutes. Reserve about 2 -3 cups of the sauce.
While the meat mixture is simmering, in a large pot of water add in salt and pasta and cook until just al dente. The pasta should have a good chew. Don’t worry if the pasta looks and tastes not done. The pasta will continue to cook when all the ingredients are mixed and baked together. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta. To prevent the pasta from continuing to cook, rinse under cool water and drain again.
While the pasta is cooking, in a medium bowl add in the ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese and ½ cup of the parmesan cheese, ¼ cup of the parsley and the egg and gently mix together til combine.
Here comes the fun part. Mix together the pasta and ricotta into the meat mixture sauce. Gently stir together until combined.
In a large baking dish, add about 1 or 2 spoonfuls of the meat mixture and stir to cover the bottom of the baking dish. Add half the pasta mixture. Then add in half of the reserve sauce and top with half of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat with the pasta, meat sauce mixture and top with the mozzarella cheese.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes until bubbly and the cheese is slightly brown on top.
Garnish with the remaining parsley and basil. Serve with a green salad and good crusty bread.
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