Recipe: Baked ziti with crab

Dr. BBQ is the master of culinary mash-ups and his challenge this week was to come up with a recipe that highlights the flavors of both New York and Baltimore.

The final dish is cheesy, with an unexpected twist, and it’s perfect for this week’s Jets-Ravens matchup on FOX’s Thursday Night Football.

And if you feel a little bit crabby about putting crab in your ziti, Dr. BBQ says you're welcome to substitute it with ground beef, or you can just go with straight cheese.  The combination of spices and sauce make this a delicious meal any time of year.


1 lb ziti pasta
3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch of salt
Pinch of black pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
1 lb lump crab
25 oz tomato sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 cup grated parmesan 
¼ cup chopped fresh basil



Preheat the oven to 350 F. 

In a large kettle of boiling water, cook the pasta 2 minutes less than the package instructions. 

Meanwhile, make the sauce by heating the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onion is soft. Add the oregano, salt and both peppers. Stir. 

Add the crab and cook, stirring occasionally for 2 to 3 minutes trying to keep the crab as chunky as possible. Add the tomato sauce and mix. Bring to a simmer. 

When the pasta is done, drain it well. Add it to the sauce and mix well. 

Spray a large baking dish with non-stick spray. Add half of the pasta mix to the pan and spread evenly. Top with half of the mozzarella, half of the parmesan and half of the basil spreading them evenly over the top. 
Add the remaining pasta mix and smooth it out. Top with the remaining mozzarella and parmesan distributing them evenly over the top.

Place in the oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes until hot and bubbly. Remove from the oven and top with the remaining basil. 

Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. 

Makes about 8 servings