Baked Ziti

When Fred’s family gathers for a meal, there are usually five siblings and 17 nieces and nephews. There are a lot of people to feed. An easy one for large families is our own version of a typical "baked ziti" dish. I actually prefer rigatoni, so it really isn't baked ziti at all. The larger noodles are closer to a lasagna texture, which I find delicious.  

often use cottage cheese instead of ricotta because Fred dislikes ricotta and we tend to have cottage cheese in our refrigerator anyway. I cook a pound of hamburger in onion and garlic because my mom always did and I'm not sure there is a dish that can't be helped by some onion and garlic. Otherwise it's as simple as mixing a pound of cooked and strained noodles with the cooked hamburger, a cup of cottage cheese and a jar of your favorite marinara sauce.  

It is a dish that is easy to alter to anyone's liking by changing out ingredients or adding new flavors. I've even added diced zucchini during the peak of zucchini season for some added texture, flavor and vitamins. 

After baking in a 9x13 pan at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes I top with a lot of mozzarella cheese and serve. I've been know to make a double batch, but a single dish can easily serve 10 adults!