For this filling baked ziti, I used a family recipe that adds grilled chicken to the combination of pasta, tomato sauce, and fresh mozzarella.
• 3 tablespoons olive oil • 1 large onion, chopped
• 3 garlic cloves, chopped • Salt and pepper
• 56 ounces canned whole, peeled tomatoes (approximately 2 large cans) • ½ teaspoons dried thyme or Italian seasoning
• 1 pound penne, rigatoni, or fusilli • 8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
• ½ pound fresh mozzarella, cut into cubes
• ½ cup grated parmesan
First, make the sauce. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and a dash of salt and pepper. Cook until onions and garlic are soft--5 minutes or so.
Go through the tomatoes and cut off the tops so there are no stems remaining. Add the tomatoes with their juices and the thyme; simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 25 minutes. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cook pasta according to package instructions.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the chicken breasts. Using a large skillet, cook the chicken breasts until they are done--you should be able to cut through the thickest part and not see any pink. Remove from heat and cut into bite-sized pieces.
Toss pasta with the sauce, chicken, parmesan, and half the mozzarella. Place in lightly greased 13 by 9 by 2 inch baking dish. Top with mozzarella.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until bubbly.