BAKED ZITI W BECHAMEL

 

  • Cooking Time: 1hr +/-
  • Servings: 6-8
  • Preparation Time: 5min

Ingredients

  • 1/2+ lb ground MEAT- any mixture of beef, veal, pork, sausages, etc.
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 3-5 cloves Garlic
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 1tblsp Italian or Greek (or both) seasoning blend, like Penzey's
  • 1/2lb Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 can Tomatoes, your choice
  • 1/2 jar Marinara sauce, your choice
  • 1lb Ziti, cooked al Dente
  • 1/2 stick Butter
  • 1/4c or so Wondra (or regular flour)
  • 3+ c Milk
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • 1c shredded Parmesan or Romano (or blend of)

Directions

  • Heat oven to 350degrees.
  • Brown meats, onion and garlic in oil in lg Dutch oven.
  • Add mushrooms, season w/spices and salt & pepper, and cook 5+min til shrooms beginning to soften.
  • Add tomatoes, sauce and pasta; mix well and lower heat to simmer while you prepare the cheese sauce.
  • Melt butter in separate sauce pan over med-low heat.
  • Add flour and stir or whisk to blend well and make a roux; cook 3-4min, being careful not to scorch.
  • Add milk SLOWLY as you whisk into paste.
  • Once you've added all milk and while sauce is just warm not yet boiling, pour about 1/3 of it into bowl of beaten eggs and blend.
  • Add egg mixture back to saucepan, whisking well to incorporate. This prevents eggs from curdling; if you don't do this, sauce will have consistency of scrambled eggs, so this is important.
  • Increase heat and cook sauce to boiling and it will begin to thicken.
  • Add cheese and continue to cook til thick with a gravy-like consistency.
  • Remove sauce from heat; add HALF of sauce to meat & pasta and stir well.
  • You CAN cook in Dutch oven, OR you can transfer to a casserole dish sprayed w/cooking oil. I transfer to my deep French White casserole as it's prettier, cleans up and serves easier.
  • Pour remaining cheese sauce over top of pasta and bake til top is golden brown, approx 20-30min.
  • SERVE!!!!! Creamy and rich and just yummy, huh?

Notes

I loves me some Ziti, but am not a super-huge fan of gooey melty Mozz on top. I mean, I LIKE it, don't get me wrong, but this is just another way of making it! It's kind of a cross between Baked Ziti and Pastitsio. Best of both worlds, right? I mean- they had the same Gods, the Greeks and the Romans- they just called them different names. That's what this is, basically. OK not really much of an analogy, right? Just give it a try. You will like, I promise.

Categories: Mediterranean 
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