For the Sauce:
*1 lb of ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
*3 cloves of garlic
*dried fennel seed; to taste
*smoked paprika; to taste
*Hungarian half sharp paprika; to taste
*dried basil; to taste
dried oregano; to taste
*onion powder; to taste
*garlic powder; to taste
*salt and pepper to taste
28. oz can crushed tomatoes
For the Bake:
*16 oz container of cottage cheese
*1 tsp dried basil or more to taste
*1/4 tsp nutmeg or more to tast
*1 Tbs Parmesan cheese
2 C shredded Cheddar Colby Jack cheese blend
1 Ib Ziti
Heat a large skillet on high heat. If you are using lean beef, add about 1 Tbs of olive oil. Add beef and cook, breaking it up as you go. Add onions and using a micro plane,grate in garlic cloves. Continue to cook until beef is browned and onions are tender. Drain if needed.
Turn heat down to medium and add fennel, both kinds of paprika, basil, oregano, onion and garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir and cook for about 1 minute. Add both cans of tomatoes and mix well, tasting to see if you need to add any more spices or herbs. Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool while making the pasta.
Boil pasta until al dente; drain and set aside.
In a bowl add cottage cheese.Mix basil, Nutmeg, cracked pepper and grated Parmesan cheese. Mix well. Taste to see if you need to add any more herbs or cheese. Crack in an egg. Mix well; set aside.
Preheat oven to 375°. Spray a deep casserole dish with non stick spray. Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of dish. Add a layer of ziti on top of the sauce. Spread another layer of sauce on top of the noodles. On top of the sauce, spread on the cottage cheese. Add some of the shredded cheese on top of the cottage cheese. Layer ziti on top of the cheese then cover with remaining sauce. Add the rest of the shredded cheese on top and cover. Bake 35 minutes, uncover and continue to bake 10 minutes more or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly.
Serve with some crusty bread and enjoy!