Recipe: 3 ingredient baked ziti: nut-free, gluten-free

After my genius Cinnamon Swirl Iced Spiced Loaf idea, I had a hankering for an easy baked ziti. Something I could make, casserole-style, for the holiday season when stores would be closed and, frankly, I wanted to laze around and not do major cooking. So, I invented the three ingredient pasta bake.

OK. "I invented" is an exaggeration but I did recall reading somewhere (maybe The Kitchn) that you could make a pasta bake without cooking the pasta first. Oh, the days of boiling lasagna, to al dente, cooling, layering it and then adding the filling, and waiting another hour for the whole thing to bake, are a thing of the past. And you don’t need special dried, par-cooked pasta like Ronzoni would have you believe.

I used dried pasta straight from the bag, pre-made sauce and fresh mozz slices, and within 5 minutes of assembly and 45 minutes of baking, dinner and lunch for the next two days was done-o! 

*I used the brands that were safe for me, use whatever’s best for your dietary needs.* 

This is a small casserole; I used a 1.5 quart dish, all of the sauce and two thirds of the pasta. It made 4 meals for me (plus side salads and fruit). It has endless variations. The main trick is to have more sauce, more than you think you need, as the pasta has to cook in the sauce. 

Got to it you easy, breezy, allergen-friendly chefs!

 3 Ingredient Baked Ziti: Tree Nut-Free, Gluten-Free

1 bag 12 ounces Tinkyada Organic Rice Penne 
1 25.5 ounce jar Lucini Rustic Tomato Sauce 
6-8 ounces of slices of fresh Belgioioso mozzerella 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a 1.5 quart casserole dish with a lid (you can also tent with aluminum foil), spoon in some sauce and swirl over bottom. Add a layer of dried pasta, cover with more sauce and layer one third of the cheese. Repeat these layers ending with sauce and cheese. 

Use up all the sauce, you'll need it. And you will use only two thirds of a 12 ounce bag of Tinkyada. Make sure all the pasta is submerged under sauce as any pasta left poking out will be crunchy and not in a yummy way but in an uncooked, this hurts my teeth way.

Cover with the lid and place in the middle of the oven. And walk away. Read a book. Draw a picture. Have a short nap.

It will start to bubble and be fragrant with wonderfulness around 45 minutes. Take a taste, make sure the pasta is cooked through. If not, pop back in for a few minutes. 

Serve while piping hot with a fresh salad and some veggies. Try not to make this every week. I dare you. 



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