semi-homemade baked ziti

Last night we rang in the New Year with our neighbors. It was so much fun hanging out, playing charades, and just spending time together. David and I have always said we are incredibly lucky to have moved into our neighborhood. We instantly made friends with those around us and were welcomed in. Last night was just a great reminder of that. To celebrate, the host and hostess shared a “New Year’s Eve around the World” theme. Each house then adopted a country and brought a dish with them to share. David and I chose Italy. It was a hectic morning and my meal choice went from one dish to another. I finally settled on some baked ziti and I think it came out pretty well and was insanely simple to prepare.

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2 boxes penne noodles

1 can 28oz diced tomatoes

1 cup Ricotta Cheese

1 package mini meatballs

2 jars Rao’s arrabiata sauce

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Prepare the penne noodles according to box in order to have “al dente” noodles.  Return the strained pasta to a deep sauce pan. Mix in 2 jars of Rao’s Arrabiata sauce, mix in cup of Ricotta Cheese. Cut meatballs into quarters and mix in to pasta. Finally mix in the diced tomatoes. Pour mixture into a baking dish. Top with the shredded mozzarella and bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Turn your oven to Broil and brown the top layer of cheese for 5-7 minutes (watch it during this part so as not to burn the top layer but just brown and bubble slightly). Then serve and enjoy!

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