We love the fall season! The weather is finally cool enough to crank the oven up to 350° without causing the house to overheat, and our appetite for comfort food starts to emerge. In celebration of the change of Seasons (and with Halloween on the horizon) we decided to put one our employee’s new GE gas oven to the test and bake up these personal size baked penne. We found these fun Halloween Ceramic Dishes at Michael’s, and although they looked small, they cooked up a delicious hot meal that left us too full for desert.
Easy Baked Ziti Recipe
1 Package of Penne, Ziti, or your favorite noodle
15 oz Ricotta Cheese
16 oz Shredded Italian Cheese (Mozzarella, Parmesan, and Romano mix works great)
32 oz Canned Diced Tomatoes
5-10 Basil Leafs
Salt (to taste)
¼ Cup Olive Oil
3 Cloves of Garlic (chopped)
½ Yellow Onion (chopped)
2 handfuls of spinach
Accents and Toppings:
1 bottle of your favorite bottled spaghetti sauce.
1 Loaf of Pre-Sliced Sourdough Bread
Spooky Cookie Cutters
Cook the noodles in large pan according to the package directions.
While the noodles are cooking:
Combine the ricotta cheese and egg in large bowl. Mix well to incorporate the egg throughout the cheese. Once the egg is incorporated, lightly stir in 8 oz of the shredded cheese. Set aside.
Drain the juice from the canned tomatoes into a sauce pan (set aside). Add the canned tomatoes, basil, and salt to a food processor. Blend all ingredients until smooth. Set aside.
Add the olive oil, garlic, and onion to the sauce pan. Sauté the mixture over a medium flame until the onions are translucent. Add the tomato puree and coarsely chopped spinach to the sauce pan. Let sauce simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
Combine the noodles, cheese mixture, and sauce into the noodle pan (drain the noodles first). Mix all ingredients well. Spoon the mixture into the Halloween Ceramic Dishes. Top each dish with 3-4 tablespoons of bottled spaghetti sauce and sprinkle the top with shredded cheese. Place the dishes on a cookie sheet or in a large backing pan (to prevent messy drips). Bake for 20-35 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling. Remove and let cook for 5-10 minutes before serving.
While the penne bakes, spread butter on the sour dough slices. Then, use your spooky cookie cutters to create shapes. While the baked penne cools, place the bread in the broiler until golden brown. Use the bread to accent the dish. Serve and enjoy!