Haters are going to hate, and purists are going to balk, but there is nothing wrong with using a pre-made pasta sauce. If you don’t have an entire day to let a red sauce simmer, popping open some ragu and letting it mingle with garlic, onion, ground beef and herbs is a really good idea. If you’re like JaQuan and know how to make it really good, you add a little sugar.
Growing up, my best friend’s Italian-American grandma made her pasta sauce with a few tablespoons of sugar. It's divisive, I know. Most prefer it without, but adding a little sugar makes for a totally delicious and indulgent pasta. I like to think of it as entirely it's own sect of sauce. Eating it for lunch really brought me back to elementary school and made me smile. It’s sweet, tomato-y, and beefy.
JaQuan’s baked Ziti was a true hit in the factory. Also, everyone is out-of-office on vacation this week, so those of us holding down the fort got major second helpings— a blessing. Baked in a big tray with bubbling mozzarella and ricotta on top, it was hearty and filling. He says that he makes this a lot for his lady and his mother, and that it’s one of their faves. Not surprised, it’s a solid dish.
JaQuan's Baked Ziti
- 3 cloves of garlic
- one onion
- 2 sbp. oil
- 1 package of ground beef
- 1 jar of pasta sauce (JaQuan uses Ragu)
- 2 tbsp. Sugar
- 1 box ziti
- herb seasoning
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In sauce pot, sautee garlic and onions in oil. Add beef and brown.
- Season with salt, sugar, and herbs. Add pre-made pasta sauce. Let simmer.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously and add pasta. Boil according to the box and then a few minutes less! Drain once done.
- In an 8x8 baking tray, spoon down one layer of sauce, one layer of pasta, and one layer of cheese. Repeat until finished!
- Bake for about 20 minutes, or until cheese bubbles and browns.