Baked Ziti (GF)

baked zitiI like to spend my Sunday afternoons cooking up some “make-ahead” meals for the week, in case we get home late from work or if we’re just feeling lazy and a heat-and-reheat will suffice. I decided to make a baked ziti with whatever cheese I had and some Marinara sauce. I love this dish – not only is it delicious, but it makes great leftovers – perfect for midweek lunches too.

Trader Joe’s has a pretty decent price on gluten-free pasta; I had never tried brown rice pasta before, but I could hardly tell the difference. Especially since this recipe involves ooey-gooey cheese and a garlicky marinara sauce.

Baked Ziti (GF)

The ingredients:

    • 1 pound gluten-free ziti pasta
    • Kosher salt
    • 3 1/2 cups marinara sauce, recipe follows
    • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, divided
    • 1/4 cup grated pecorino romano
    • 4 oz. smoked mozzarella, shredded
    • 4 oz. smoked gouda, cubed
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • Pinch of crushed red pepper or to taste
  • Marinara Sauce:
    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1/4 medium onion, diced (about 3 tablespoons)
    • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 3 1/2 cups whole, peeled, canned tomatoes in puree, (one 28-ounce can), roughly chopped
    • Sprig of fresh thyme
    • Sprig of fresh basil
    • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper

     

The method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously, and boil the pasta until al dente, tender but still slightly firm. Drain.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta with the marinara sauce, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, the pecorino, and the cubed gouda and shredded mozzarella pieces. Season with the black pepper and red pepper to taste, and mix until well combined. Transfer the pasta to an oiled 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Cover the top of the pasta with pecorino and parmesan, and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Bake until lightly browned and hot, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.
  3. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and garlic, stirring, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the herb sprigs and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove and discard the herb sprigs. Stir in the salt and season with pepper to taste. Use now, or store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.
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