Sunday, February 14, 2010

Spicy Baked Ziti

Spicy Baked Ziti

This recipe is not for the faint of heart. (It's Valentine's Day. Somehow "heart" got into the blog.
My husband likes spicy food so I changed the usual baked ziti recipe to a spicier version. It is good, but if you have children, it might be too hot with seasonings for children. My grandsons eat chili, so guess that depends on the child.

Brown 1 to 1/2 lbs. ground chuck with 1 chopped onion, 1 crushed garlic clove or garlic powder if you prefer garlic powder, use 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper.
I strain the excess fat off the browned meat.

In a medium sized pot add the browned meat, 1 can of Mild Rotel tomatoes. If you don't like chunky tomoatoes, put it in a food processor to lightly process until it's more like a tomato puree but not so much as to a point of liquidating the tomatoes. I like to add 1 tablespoon of chili powder but it's not necessary. I also add a bit of Italian spices or just some oregano. Add 1 can of water. Simmer covered for about 20 minutes. In the mean time, boil some ziti (or even macaroni if that's what you have available) until soft but not too soft. Mine usually takes about 10 to 12 minutes of boiling time, but I check it so that it's not over cooked

Drain the ziti (or macaroni) stir into the meat sauce. Spray a 10 x13 baking pan with Pam or oil.
Layer 1/2 of the meatsauce in pan, 1 cup shredded mozarella cheese, last layer of meat sauce, top with more mozarella cheese, about 1 cup. If you like, sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 until the cheese melts nicely, about 10 to 20 minutes depending on your oven. We usually have enough left over for one more dinner. (I love left overs, it gives the food time to marinate the spices particularly in Italian food.

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