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Valarie’s Baked Ziti (Ziti Al Forna)

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Ingredients

  1. Roux – Equal parts butter (1 stick) and flour (1/2 cup)
  2. 5 cubes of chicken bouillon
  3. 6 cups – whole milk
  4. 2 Tbsp. of Italian seasonings
  5. 1 tsp. of ground black pepper
  6. 1 tsp. of sea salt
  7. 3 Tbsp. Olive oil, plus more for drizzling.
  8. 115oz. can of tomato sauce
  9. 4 – cups of shredded cheese combine – Colby, mozzarella, and cheddar 
  10. ½ cup of Panko breadcrumbs
  11. ¼ cup of parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1.  Preheat oven to 350F.
  2.  Prepare sauce mixture: Melt butter on medium high heat then add bouillon cubes. Once melted, add flour and to make the roux. Once combined, slowly add milk & whisk until smooth. Add spices & olive oil. Bring to a slow simmer and cook for about 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce whisk until blended. Then add cheeses in small batches until melted. Remove from heat.
  3.    Cook pasta al dente – approximately 6-7 minutes and strain.
  4.    Place pasta into Pyrex glass cooking casserole dish – approximately two 9”x12” and drizzle with olive oil.
  5.    Pour sauce mix over pasta and mix, then sprinkle panko breadcrumbs and parmesan on top.
  6.    Bake for 25 minutes and serve.

Notes

Pro Tip:  Melt 1-2 Tbsp. of butter and toast breadcrumbs until they become golden brown.

Valarie usually makes two types for us at home. One with chunky tomato sauce for Dale and one with smooth tomato sauce for the kids. On many occasions she will change up the cheese combination for variety.