For the last episode of the Sopranos I decided to cook one of Carmela's dishes. It always seemed that she was carrying baked Ziti to her priest, so I found a good recipe and gave it a go. (I actually got this recipe from another blogger who had the same idea)
I have to say that this dish rocked and could easily be made calorie friendly with wheat noodles and low fat cheese. I did have trouble with my noodles being a little crunchy on top, but I think that can be fixed. Baked Ziti with Turkey Meatballs was YUM-O and was almost the perfect Italian ending (No one got whacked) .
BAKED ZITI WITH TURKEY MEATBALLS
1 pound ground turkey
1 large garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted, cooled, and chopped
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves (preferably flat-leafed)
1 large egg, beaten lightly
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ziti or penne
1 1/2 cups coarsely grated mozzarella cheese (about 6 ounces)
1 cup freshly grated Romano cheese (about 3 ounces)
about 6 cups winter tomato saucea
15-ounce container ricotta cheese
Make meatballs:In a bowl stir together well turkey, garlic, bread crumbs, onion, pine nuts, parsley, egg, salt, and pepper and form into meatballs about 1 inch in diameter. In a large heavy skillet heat 2 tablespoons oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and cook half of meatballs, shaking skillet, until browned and cooked through, about 4 minutes. Transfer meatballs to paper towels to drain and brown remaining meatballs in remaining 2 tablespoons oil in same manner.
Preheat oven to 375°F. and oil a 3- to 4-quart gratin dish or other shallow baking dish.
In a kettle of salted boiling water cook pasta until just al dente, about 8 minutes, and drain well. In a small bowl toss together mozzarella and Romano.
Spoon about 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce and half of meatballs into prepared dish and spoon half of pasta on top. Spread half remaining sauce and half cheese mixture over pasta. Top with remaining meatballs and drop dollops of ricotta over meatballs. Spread remaining pasta over ricotta and top with remaining sauce and remaining cheese mixture.
Bake ziti in middle of oven 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden, and let stand 10 minutes before serving.Serves 6 to 8.Gourmet February 1994
For Winter Sauce I used sauce out of a jar.