Cheesy Baked Ziti

My Grandma W wasn’t known for her cooking but I’ve thought of her often lately. She would have loved Mr. J and she would be really proud that we got the house. She was a tough cookie but her grandchildren could do no wrong.
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She made fantastic fudge, chex-mix, and baked ziti. Mine didn’t quite rival hers, but it was good. The perfect sauce with lots of cheese was an ideal dinner. I concentrated on making sure there was a ton of cheese and that the noodles were cooked perfectly.

Ingredients:

1 pound ziti, rigatoni, or penne
2 cups tomato sauce
12 oz ricotta
1 cup spinach
12 oz shredded mozzarella

Directions:

Boil pasta until al dente (it will keep cooking when baked)
Blend (or chop) spinach into ricotta
Mix ricotta with pasta, half the sauce, and half the mozzarella.
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Spread into a greased pan and top with remaining sauce.
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Bake 30 minutes covered. Then top with remaining cheese and bake until melted.
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Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

If I were making this Grandma W style, I would have added meatballs, chicken thighs, sausage, pepperoni, peppers, and onions.  Mine was simplier but I liked it a lot. I have a strong love for ricotta.
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It reminded me of a baked pasta Ms. L made for me. I liked the crispy ones at the edges. I think this dish is super easy, can be made ahead of time, and is definitely a cheap dinner.

Cost breakdown:
Sauce: $1.67
Pasta: $1.00
Ricotta: $2.69
Spinach: $1.74
Shredded mozzarella: $2.99
Total: $10.09 and serves 6 or just $1.68 per person

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