So, we finally got some Fall weather and I could not be more excited!  First, you don’t sweat through your clothes by 10am.  Second, all those beautiful fall dishes you are seeing in magazines and on Pinterest you actually feel like making now because it feels like pumpkin season.  And third, most importantly, you get to wear bulkier clothes to cover up all those areas that don’t look like they did when you were 25. Frankly, I think the third reason is the reason I look so forward to fall/winter:) 

Anyway, I digress-let’s talk about all the fattening food you can make and tell yourself that you will work out and work off in April. This recipe for Baked Ziti is super easy and is not as calorie laden as most ziti recipes, but it is still pasta.  It saves beautifully if you want to make it in advance.  It is a fabulous dish to take to a new neighbor or someone that has just had a baby. There is nothing like getting a warm meal from a neighbor or family member after you have had a baby and feel like you have been run over by a truck.  Something about shoving cheesy pasta into your mouth that makes those first few weeks of nursing, healing and adjusting to motherhood doable. 
But, if you are like me and those baby years are long gone and you are driving kids around all hours of the afternoon and night then this meal is perfect for you as well.  I made this the other day at about 11am and left it in the fridge until I could bake it. We were not able to have a family dinner that night so it sat on the stove and everyone just ate when they could. 
Happy Fall and let me know your thoughts in the comment section below! 


Baked Ziti

Makes 4-6 Servings

1 lb. Ziti pasta (you can use Penne or macaroni)
1 Tablespoon salt
1- 24oz jar of pasta sauce
2 Tablespoon minced basil leaves
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more or less depending on your level of spicy)
1/2 lb. sliced mozzarella
1 cup ricotta (full fat or fat free)

Preheat oven to 375°

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add salt and pasta.  Cook according to package directions, but less one minute.

Drain pasta and return to pot.  Add pasta sauce and 1/2 of the Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes and 1 Tablespoon basil to the pasta.  

Pour half of the pasta into a greased 9"x13" baking dish.  Dollop 1/2 cup of the ricotta cheese on and then pour the rest of the pasta into baking dish.  Dollop remaining 1/2 cup of ricotta on top layer and top with slices of mozzarella.  

Bake for 15 minutes.  

Turn the oven to broil.  Broil 2 minutes or until cheese is browned. 

Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese and basil.