Firenze Formaggio Baked Ziti Rotini
2 onions diced
2 green peppers diced
1 red pepper diced
one garlic clove, diced
3 tablespoons italian seasoning
6 tablespoons of Balner’s Fiesta garlic salt
2 bags of shredded mozzarella
one wedge of your favorite local Parmesan – The Rhined
one large jar of your favorite tomato sauce
1 pound ground beef
1 can of diced tomatoes or three fresh tomatoes diced.
1 pound mild Italian sausage
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 boxes rotini + ziti pasta
1 tablespoon of chives
four tablespoons of ground black pepper
1/2 stick of butter
2 tablespoons of rosemary
6 ounces spinach / chopped
Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Round Wide Dutch Oven, 6 3/4-Qt or large pot
Chopped white mushrooms
Caserole dish (Large )
Olive oil – to coat the pans
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
It’s starting to get cold outside, which calls for hearty, Formaggio, meaty, filled, vegetable enriched, flavorful, pasta dishes. There is something magical about having a meaty pasta dish, ready to serve and fresh out of the oven, it just screams take off your coat, pull up a chair, and have a bit of love through the belly and straight to the heart. When creating this dish, I had flash backs of going to the market – everyday to get fresh produce, when living in Florence, Italy. I have utilized the same ideology in the States, and have loved the same walk-ability of Covington, Kentucky. While living here, we have loved going to the Covington Farmers market, as well as supporting our local grocery stores.
One local market, I am loving, that my best friends Kyler and Sam, showed me, is Kremer’s Market, located at 755 Buttermilk Pike, Crescent Springs, KY. This market is a gourmet chefs, dream, with amazing sandwiches to go, fresh produce, and a the best selection of olive oil. Come here daily for made-to-order deli sandwiches, paninis and signature sandwiches, quickly prepared with curated ingredients. The Kremer’s Market deli carries 31 meats and 28 cheeses daily, including their house made roast beef and ham. Select your favorite sandwich served on Servatii bread. Check out their two best-sellers, the Urb Chicken Panini and Kremer’s BLT with homemade chicken salad on a house-baked croissant. Also, take a look at their monthly menu, HERE. So even though I am posting this recipe as sneak peek into the VB in the City cookbook, please try and visit places like Kremer’s Market, and our local restaurants, this Holiday season and beyond.
First coat the bottom of the dutch oven/ or pot, with olive oil, brown the ground beef and Italian sausage, garlic salt, and onions, in the dutch oven/pot. Once the meat is brown, and onions soft, the aroma of garlic strong, drain the fat, and place meat onion mixture, back into the dutch oven/ pot.
Add all the spices and more garlic salt, diced peppers, mushrooms, garlic in the dutch oven/pot.
+If wanting to make the dish vegetarian – sans the meat, and either add meatless crumbles or diced up/sauteed zucchini.
Add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes , to the dutch oven/pot and fold in the vegetables and meat.
Add the chopped spinach and fold. Put the lid on and Let the sauce come to a boil. Watch the sauce carefully, once it gets a bit bubbly lower heat, and stir.
Boil the noodles, drain, and place back into the pot. Add and stir in the butter more garlic, garlic salt, the rosemary, Italian seasonings, and o so much crushed black pepper.
Prep your casserole dish, by coating the bottom with a layer of the meat/veggie sauce, then add a layer of noodles, then add a layer of the Parmesan/ mozzarella shredded cheese mixture, then add another layer of the meat/veggie sauce, then add another layer of noodles, and another layer of cheese, repeat until you reach the top.
Top the zitti with another layer of cheese, and cover the Firenze Formaggio Baked Ziti Rotini with aluminum foil.
Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Take off the foil the last 5 minutes top with cheese and remove.