Thursday, January 6, 2022

Individual 4-layer Baked Ziti Recipe

Looking for an easy meal with an elegant touch? Then try this individual baked ziti recipe. In using ramekin dishes, you can easily manage portion sizes for your guests.








This easy recipe takes about 45 total minutes to prepare and includes 4 layers, top to bottom:


Layers:

* Mozzarella cheese

* Ricotta with minced shallots and fresh basil

* Ground beef, veal and pork, cooked with minced shallots and garlic

* Pasta in your choice of red sauce



Serving:

* Recipe yields 6 servings 


Ingredients:

* 1 box of dried pasta or fresh pasta such as ziti, rigatoni, or penne

* Approximately 16 ounces of your favorite homemade red sauce, or a store-bought sauce to your liking

* 1/3 lb ground beef

* 1/3 lb ground veal

* 1/3 lb ground pork

* 3 large shallots

* 5 cloves garlic 

* 1 cup chopped fresh basil

* 1/4 cup chopped chives

* 1 tsp liquid smoke

* 2 tbsp butter

* 16 ounces ricotta cheese

* 24 ounces mozzarella cheese




Recipe:

Preheat the oven to 350F


Pasta:

* Choose your pasta of taste such as ziti, penne, or rigatoni and prepare. 

While the pasta is cooking…


Meat Layer:

* Cut 2 shallots and garlic

* In a large pan, sauté shallots and garlic in olive oil, adding a pinch of salt and pepper

* Add meat and continue on medium heat

* Add liquid smoke and season meat to taste with salt, pepper. Consider a pinch of smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, oregano.

* Add chives and butter and melt butter

* Add 1.5 cups of the red sauce and reduce the liquid on a simmer


Ricotta Layer:

* In a medium mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with shallot, the cut basil, salt and pepper to taste.




Construction:

* Drain the pasta and return to the pot

* Using a strainer, pour any liquid remaining from the meat pan into the pasta pot

* Add a handful of mozzarella cheese and stir 

* Mix in the red sauce. If you are using a store-bought sauce, I recommend Raos Homemade Vodka Sauce.

* Add a layer of pasta to each ramekin about 1/3 high

* With a small spoon, add a layer of the cooked meat mixture, roughly 1/3 high, leaving the last 1/3 for the cheese 

* Spoon a layer of ricotta into each, leaving about 1 centimeter space for the mozzarella 

* Add mozzarella to the top

* Season the top layer mozzarella 


Baking:

* Place the 6 ramekin dishes on a tray and cook until mozzarella is fully melted and there is a light brown crust around the sides, approximately 30-45 minutes


Serve hot or let cool and reheat in the oven later before serving.





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