This makes 2 – 8×8 casseroles, it’s perfect for eating one today and freezing another for a later time.
1lb cottage cheese
2 eggs, beaten
3 oz + 1-1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
1/2 c. onion, chopped
28 oz tomato sauce
1 lb ziti
8 oz mozzarella
1 lb Italian sausage/ground beef
5 garlic cloves, pressed
1T olive oil
15 oz diced tomatoes
1/2 c. + 2 tbsp basil
1 c milk
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp cornstarch
salt & pepper
- Whisk cottage cheese, eggs, & 1 c. Parmesan together in a medium bowl; set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil, cook pasta until it begins to soften but is not yet cooked through, 5-7m. Drain the pasta.
- Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook meat until nearly browned. Add in the onion and garlic and continue to cook until the onion is softened and meat is completely browned. Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and oregano; simmer until thickened, about 10 mins. Turn off the heat, stir in 1/2 c. basil and the sugar, and season with salt and pepper. (to make this even faster, you can do this step ahead of time. Either make this up to 24 hrs in advance and place in refrigerator until ready to use, or do a big batch of it – like using 5lb of meat and separating them out into 5 freezer bags of single servings for 5 uses in the future. Just label it well as Ziti Sauce.)
- In a small bowl stir together the cornstarch and milk. Transfer the mixture to the now-empty stockpot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, 3-4 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and add the cottage cheese mixture, 1-1/2C of the tomato sauce and 3/4C mozzarella. Stir to combine. Add the pasta and toss to coat thoroughly with the sauce.
- Split the pasta into 2 foil-lined 8×8 baking dishes (1 of them should be lined with foil) and spread the remaining tomato sauce evenly over the tops. Sprinkle the remaining cheeses over the tops. Place the foil-wrapped one in a gallon-sized freezer bag, label with dish name & date, place in freezer.
- Bake, covered with foil, at 350° for 30 mins, then uncover and bake an additional 30 mins.
- Reheating from frozen: Thaw. Remove from foil & transfer back to an 8×8 baking dish. Cover top with foil, bake at 350 for 30 mins. Remove foil & bake for an additional 30 mins.
Serve with side salad, garlic toast, and steamed veggies.