Think of this as manicotti unbound. Cooked ziti is layered with a creamy blend of ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, enriched with egg and fragrant with nutmeg. A full-flavored tomato and basil sauce blankets the layers. Bake until bubbly and serve!
INGREDIENTS (for 4 servings):
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 pint part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1 cup shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 8 ounces dry ziti pasta
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.
In a large saucepan, heat oil over moderately high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until onion is translucent. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to moderately low. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
In a medium bowl, blend together ricotta, mozzarella, egg, black pepper, and nutmeg.
Cover the bottom of a 2 1/2 quart baking dish with about 1 cup of the tomato sauce. Layer with half of the ziti, half of the cheese mixture, 2 more cups of the tomato sauce, and remaining ziti. Top with remaining cheese mixture and sauce.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 to 25 minutes, until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted.