I read this in the original Cook's Illustrated issue but we lost it, so I'm so glad to see the recipe posted here. A few things I'd add: 1) to the people saying that you should substitute ricotta instead of cottage cheese: ricotta is the traditional cheese used for baked ziti, but if you read Cook's Illustrated they made it both ways and found that cottage cheese retained its moisture while ricotta dried out. They substituted cottage cheese instead of ricotta and got better results, so stay with cottage cheese. 2) to save some steps / time: you can use jarred alfredo sauce instead of mixing cream/cornstarch and get the exact same results. In fact, they did it that way in Cook's Illustrated and got the same results as mixing your own cream sauce. They just put mixing your own cream sauce in the final recipe because they wanted it to be all from scratch. So, save yourself some time and effort and use jarred alfredo sauce! 3) this is also great with vodka sauce instead of straight tomato sauce, and I do like to add more cubes of mozzarella. Great, great recipe that really feeds a crowd -- thanks for posting!
OMG.....I had a really good ziti recipe but this one puts it to shame. My friend actually had the Cook's Illustrated and let me read it. It explains why cottage cheese over ricotta, why the mozzarella cheese is cubed, etc., and it all totally makes sense. I have been begging for her to send me the recipe all week and was so happy to find it here. I really don't like to make substitutions when I'm reviewing a recipe. I feel it should be prepared as written for a proper review. That said, we're not into "chunky", so I subbed another can of tomato sauce for the diced tomatoes. That's the only change I made. This is the creamiest, most flavorful ziti ever. Hands down, my family agreed, we throw out the old recipe!
This was very good. Did not miss the meat, just added a salad and felt good about it. As someone suggested I used a jar of prepared alfredo sauce for ease (no cream or time). I also doubled the recipe (big family), I needed to use up some fresh basil but didnt have enough for two batches so I used a large (costco size) jar of Ragu chunky with the required other ingredients. When all the kids eat it is a 5 star meal! Thanks for posting.
I was actually disappointed because it was so tasty. I know that doesn't make a lot of sense, but after spending a lot of time and totally demolishing my kitchen, I hoped that I would never have to make this recipe again. I was never able to get the cream sauce to simmer, and who has a double boiler these days? I think I'll look for an easier recipe.
This is a wonderful recipe! The only change I made was to include homemade meatballs along the sides before adding the sauce. Definitely company worthy. I had enough to make two pans and freeze one for later. As always, your recipes shine.
I had a little test kitchen of my own going last night--I made this version (with Italian sausage added to the sauce) and my traditional baked ziti. Everyone preferred the traditional recipe. What was better about the Cooks Illustrated recipe: fresh basil, esp raw sprinkled on top, was outstanding. I preferred the mozzarella chunks to grated cheese all over. What was better in traditional ziti: the noodles. For all that care to undercook the noodles, making it the regular way and not adding more sauce to compensate ended up with noodles that were less overdone. Go figure. Also, we ALL preferred ricotta to cottage cheese. Nothing against cottage cheese, but for us, it was a decent enough substitute ingredient, but not the real thing.
WOW...followed exactly as written (except bought shredded mozzarella out of habit...will correct next time)...and this was beyond amazing. This is now my only ziti recipe!! My only question is that I'm never sure how to measure fresh herbs like the basil in this one. I took my best guess (about three of the prepackaged bunches...1/4 cup packed whole leaves??) and it was PERFECT!!
Fed a large group and was delicious.<br/>Not dry at all (cottage cheese vs ricotta is key) and to me, to my family, it was a baked ziti perfection.
Seriously hands down the best pasta dish I've ever made or tasted! Delicious and my toddler loves it too. I make it at least once a month...so so good.
This was fabulous! I made my own Alfredo sauce; this is a keeper. Thanks for posting this one. Sorry I took so long to post this review.