1/3 cup olive oil
4 to 6 garlic cloves, smashed
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 14-ounce cans stewed tomatoes
1/4 cup dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
1/3 cup dry red wine
1 teaspoon salt
black pepper, to taste
1 pound dried ziti (or penne)
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
3 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
Tomato Sauce: In a heavy pot, sauté the garlic in olive oil over medium heat
until golden brown. Remove the garlic from pot and discard. Place the diced
tomatoes and one can of stewed tomatoes in a food processor or blender. Pulse
until tomatoes are coarsely chopped. Pour them into the pot. Stir in the
remaining can of stewed tomatoes, basil, thyme and sugar. Bring the sauce to a
boil. Add the wine and continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Cool slightly.
Cook the ziti or penne in a large pot according to package directions; but
reduce the cooking time by 2 minutes so that the pasta is slightly undercooked.
Drain, but do not rinse the pasta. Return the pasta to the pot. Add a small
amount of the tomato sauce and toss to keep the pasta from sticking.
In small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, egg, parsley, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan
cheese and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese.
Coat a large casserole or baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Place half
of the cooked pasta in the casserole. Drop the ricotta mixture by spoonfuls over
the top of the pasta. (It is not necessary to cover all exposed pasta.) Pour
about 2 cups of the tomato sauce over the pasta. Add the remaining pasta. Pour
about 2 more cups of the tomato sauce over the second layer of pasta. Cover the
top with the remaining Parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Note: During baking the
pasta will absorb some of the sauce.
In a pre-heated 350 degree oven, bake the ziti for 35 to 40 minutes, or until
the top layer of cheese is golden brown and the sauce is bubbly. Serve with a
bowl of the remaining sauce.
Serves 4 to 6.