Baked Ziti with Ricotta and Ham
- 3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 pound Italian Cooked Ham Preferably Parmacotto (cut into 1/2-inch cubes)
- Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
- 1 small Carrot (cut into 1/4-inch dice)
- 1 rib Celery (thinly sliced)
- 1 cup Dry Red Wine
- 1 1/2 cups Basic Tomato Sauce
- 1 1/2 pound Ziti
- 8 ounce Pecorino Fresco (cut into small dice)
- 1 pound Ricotta
- 1/2 cup Freshly Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 2 cups Besciamella
- 1 onion (diced)
Preparation time 60mins
Cooking time 120mins
In a dutch oven, heat the olive oil over high heat until smoking. Add the ham cubes and brown for 5 to 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the carrot, onion, and celery and cook until the vegetables are golden brown, about 10 minutes.
Add the wine, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook until the meat is just about falling apart, about 50 minutes. Transfer the meat to a large bowl. Keep the sauce warm.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F. Bring 6 quarts of a water to a boil in a large pot and add 2 tablespoons salt.
Cook the ziti in the boiling water for 1 minute less than package directions, until still very al dente.
Transfer the cooked ziti to a large mixing. Add besciamella and pecorino and stir to combine and melt cheese.
Grease a round 12-inch deep pie dish or a casserole with olive oil. Add a layer of the ziti. Next add a few dollops of ricotta, topped with a layer of the meat ragu. Repeat these layers until all the ingredients are used up, try for the top layer to be ricotta and pasta.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until bubbling and heated through. Serve in warmed pasta bowls with parmigiano garnish.