2010-04-08 / Community News

From the Chef’s Corner

Baked Ziti

This hearty casserole is sure to please everyone at your dinner table. When our grandchildren were very young, this is one meal we didn’t have to make them eat, and, of course, their mamas and daddies liked it even better.
1 (16oz) box ziti pasta
½ medium onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 (26 oz) jar tomato and basil pasta sauce
¾ tsp. salt, divided
3 Tbs. butter
3 Tbs. flour
3 cups milk
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 (8 oz) package shredded mozzarella cheese

Cook pasta in a large Dutch oven or pot according to package directions. Drain and return to Dutch oven. Meanwhile, sauté chopped onion in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add beef and cook, stirring until beef crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain beef mixture and return to pan. Stir in pasta sauce and ½ tsp. salt. Set aside.

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whish in milk; cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Stir in Parmesan cheese, remaining ¼ tsp. salt and pepper. Pour sauce over pasta in Dutch oven, stirring until pasta is evenly coated.

Transfer pasta mixture to a lightly greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Top evenly with beef mixture; sprinkle evenly with mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes or until cheese is melted. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serve with garlic French bread and green salad. Delicious!.

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