Creamy Pesto and Marinara Baked Ziti

This is an explosion of extra flavor from the same old boring Baked Ziti. Most baked ziti just has the noodles, sauce and cheese! Not this one!!! This one has so much more flavor and explodes in your mouth. I love making Baked Ziti because it is so simple, delicious, and feeds a lot of people for a lot less money. I use Pesto and Cream cheese in this recipe to make the flavor more out there and to make it creamier. I hope you enjoy my twist on it!!!

Here’s what you’ll need…..

1 box of Rigatoni
1 can of your favorite Marinara Sauce or check out my homemade recipe below

http://theblondecook.blogspot.com/2012/04/tomato-marinara-sauce.html

2/3 cup of Pesto sauce- Check out my homemade pesto below or use store bought

http://theblondecook.blogspot.com/2012/04/homemade-pesto-with-angel-hair-and.html

4 Tbs of Cream Cheese
2 Cups of Mozzarella Cheese

First, you want to Boil your water. Don’t forget to add a pinch of salt in it to flavor your noodles.
Bring to a boil and cook Your noddles until they are almost cooked!! You don’t want them to be fully cooked because they will fully cook in the oven!

OH PS did you know if you put a WOODEN SPOON across your boiling water it will never boil over! Your Welcome!

Next Drain your noodles and put back in pan. Add in your cream cheese while your noodles are still hot. If you cooled them just heat them up again. Your pasta will have a light coding of the cream cheese on them now.

 Now add in your PESTO! Yummmmmmm the smell is making me want to eat it now!!!! Stir it up good so that every noodle is covered in the creamy pesto sauce.

Now get out your baking pan. This Should fit in a Large Glass pan but I cut my recipe in half because it was only for me and My Husband. The large pan should feed about 8-10 people. Cut it in half to serve 4-5. Lightly Pour your Marinara sauce on the bottom of the pan to just barley cover it..

Next add your pasta. Top with more Marinara Sauce and mix in. I like more sauce then others because I don’t like it to dry up. You do what you please!!! one can should be enough for the large pan but add more if you like. Mix all together.

Last but not least! Cover with Mozzarella Cheese. I only used one cup because my recipe was cut in half remember!!!

Bake in the oven for 35 Mins on 350 degrees or until cheese and sides of the pan are boiling.

Cover with FOIL for the first 15 minutes and uncover for the last 20 or so! This will make the Cheese perfectly melted and browned a bit. If its not completely melted and browning cook for 5 more minutes!

Let cool and serve!!!! Enjoy!!!

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