Monday, June 2, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Dreamy Baked Ziti

(I have actually made 2 recipes for the Secret Recipe Club Reveal this month!  Make sure you scroll down and visit both recipes!!!  They were delicious!)

Whenever J and I go to Olive Garden, I order the 5 Cheese Ziti.  When I order something else, I wish I ordered the 5 Cheese Ziti.  After doing this a couple of times, I learned and have a regular order.  While I have looked at copycat recipes for this amazing dish, I've never found anything that has made me sit up and want to try it.  The garlic, the could I replicate the sauce?  Until now.  I finally found one to try.
This month for Group A's reveal for the Secret Recipe Club, I was given the blog, Cheese with Noodles.  Anna lives in Alaska with her husband, her bunnies and her cats.  Like me, she doesn't take the beautiful pictures that I aspire to...nor does she photo every recipe.  She does say, however, that the recipes need to be amazing to make it onto her blog.  Amazing food?  Count me in!
This ziti recipe looked easy, made a ton, and had lots of garlic.  Plus, with the cream in the sauce, perhaps it would be like that which I love from Olive Garden.  Information that could prove to be very dangerous in the wrong hands, which in this case would be mine.
I present to you now Cheese with Noodles' Dreamy Baked Ziti:

1 lb ziti
2 Tbsp oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
8 oz can tomato sauce
1 Tbsp Italian herb mix
1 Tbsp basil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp sugar
1 lb cottage cheese
2 eggs
4 oz parmesan cheese, shredded
8 oz mozzarella cheese, cubed
1 c cream
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp salt
1.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease a 9x13" pan and a piece of foil that will fit over top of the casserole dish.  Cook pasta in boiling water until almost cooked through (it will continue to cook in the oven, and you don't want it to get soggy!)
2.  In a medium saucepan, heat oil and garlic, cooking until fragrant.  Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, herbs, and sugar.  Simmer for 10 minutes, until cooked through.
3.  In a large bowl, combine cottage cheese, eggs, half the parmesan, half the mozzarella, salt, and the cream into which the cornstarch has been blended.  Stir together and add 1 c of the tomato sauce.  Drain pasta, rinse with cool water, and add to the cheese mixture.
4.  Pour pasta maixture into the 9x13" pan and spread evenly.  Pour tomato sauce over the pasta, spreading evenly and scattering with reserved parmesan and mozzarella.  Cover with greased foil, and bake for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes until golden and bubbly.
 From Cheese with Noodles

It always seems that the recipes I make for Secret Recipe Club use every dish I own.  I'm not complaining, I'm stating.  They're always delicious, but I seem to pick things that have an incredible amount of prep to be done, dirtying everything possible as I go.
The colour of the sauce was reminiscent of Olive Garden's sauce.  All the garlic made it smell that way too.  I used an Italian macaroni that I bought at Zingerman's to make Macaroni and Cheese.  The tubes are longer and less curved than their North American counterparts, and reminded me enough of ziti that that is what I used.
Ready for the oven!  There was a ton of cheese in this, and J and I think we'll get 8 servings out of the pan.  That's saying something for a dish that looks so simple.  But all the cheese makes it super rich.
Out of the oven and bubbly!  I couldn't resist: I picked a piece out of the corner and ate it right out of the oven.  And promptly burned my tongue.  Serves me right.
But this was delicious.  It might not be exactly like Olive Garden's, but close enough!  Thanks Anna!


  1. Hi Sarah! I'm so glad you liked it! Funny you picked this one because the person who had my blog last month picked Dreamy Baked Ziti, too :D I've only made it the one time but we sure did like it, perhaps I need to make it again.

  2. Yummmm. That looks so good. I've never had that at Olive Garden, I always order carbonara (I say always - we probably go there once a year, maybe!). But I adore baked ziti and I love how creamy that one is.

  3. In the past 2 days, I have seen two different recipes(incl. yours) for baked ziti that look awesome. The ziti I make is usually pretty darn simple, but these are both more intriguing.I think it's a sign. ;)

  4. My husband and son have their favorite dish at Olive Garden, too. Well, they had a favorite. It's recently been discontinued. So it's good you now have a backup!

    This looks really good.

  5. looks delicious! now i want pasta, real bad. btw i had you this month for src! i made your black bean and rice soup. it was delicious! thanks for the great recipe :)