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Food
Baked Ziti

In our family, the secret to a tasty sauce is no secret: The longer it cooks, the better it tastes. I've been making homemade sauce for as long as I can remember. I learned by watching my grandmother and mother. I cook my sauce for about 8 hours and I make it the day before I serve it. We never have a holiday meal without a pasta dish. I used to make raviolis like my grandmother, but as the family grew I found that the baked ziti was easier to throw together. -- Arlene Burnett, Kitchen Mailbox columnist

About 1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian sausage
Two 29-ounce cans tomato sauce
Two 29-ounce cans tomato puree
12 ounce can tomato paste
2 to 3 tablespoons basil, preferably fresh
1 to 2 tablespoons oregano, preferably fresh
About 2 pounds country spareribs
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese, separated
1 pound ziti or similar pasta
1 pound ricotta cheese
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound freshly grated mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook sausage in boiling water for at least 20 minutes to remove the grease. Drain sausage and slice in 1/2-inch pieces. Place tomato sauce, puree and tomato paste in large stock pot, add spices and about half the Romano cheese, stir. Add sausage and pork. Cook sauce over very low heat stirring frequently until sauce thickens, 6 to 8 hours.

Boil pasta until al dente; drain.

Spread some of the sauce on the bottom of an 11-by-14-by-2 inch casserole dish. Place enough ziti to cover the sauce. Sprinkle some of the Parmesan cheese and Romano cheese over the ziti. Place large spoonfuls (about 2 tablespoons) of the ricotta cheese over the ziti. Spread a generous portion of sauce over the ziti. Repeat layers one more time, ending with sauce. Cover sauce with grated mozzarella cheese. Place in a 350-degree oven for about 30 minutes or until heated through. Serve with extra sauce.

Note: This recipe makes enough sauce for two casseroles.

Thursday, November 15, 2001

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