We recently hosted our largest crowd ever in our new home - about 30 people! I didn't know how many people to expect that day, but I knew it would be a lot. I wanted to be sure we had plenty of food for everyone. We were also leaving for a big camping trip the next day, so I wanted to keep things as simple as possible! (Hence the boxed brownie mixes!) Things worked out so well, I wanted to record what I did for future gatherings. If you haven't made baked ziti before, think lasagne, just 4x easier to prepare.
Baked Ziti for a Crowd
In bowl #1 mix:
- 2 lbs. cooked and drained ziti
- 6 c. pasta sauce (homemade from 2, 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes)
- 2 lbs. of ground Italian Sausage (optional)
- 2 lbs. ricotta cheese
- 2 c. mozzarella cheese, grated
- fresh basil to taste (I used several Tbs. from my plant)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1/4 c. grated parmesan
Layer in this way in an extra large disposable pasta pan: 1/2 of the ziti mixture goes in the bottom. Cover with all of the ricotta cheese mixture. Put the remaining half of the ziti mixture on top of that, top with the 4 c. of mozzarella and cover with foil. Bake in a 350* oven for 30 minutes, removing the foil during the last 10 minutes to let the cheese get a little brown and bubbly.
(I think my large roasting pan might also work well, I'll try that next time.)
For our gathering, I served -
- this recipe for baked ziti that serves 24
- a crock pot full of dairy free/gluten free meatballs in sauce
- I also cooked 3 pounds of whole wheat linguine and some gluten free pasta, but I think next time I will only cook one pound. There was TONS leftover!
- 1 lb. of salad greens loaded up with yummy chopped veggies
- for dessert, I prepared 15x10" pan of brownies, thawed a bag of frozen raspberries, and served a quart of vanilla ice cream.