Baked Ziti

I went to Italy once. I loved it. I remember at one point in Assisi our bus driver offered to take us to his favorite place for lunch. Most of the food up to that point had been kind of touristy. I like to have the real deal when I travel, and when I tasted that first bite of ziti, I knew I had finally arrived in Italy. It has since become one of my favorite go to Italian meals.

I had this recently, and remembered how easy and delicious it is to make.

To further enhance my laziness I am crock-potting my marinara sauce for this evening as well.

For the sauce:

1 large can of crushed tomato
1 t. kosher salt
1 t. garlic powder (told you I was being lazy)
1 T. dried onion (See??? lazy)
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. dried basil
1/2 t. pepper
1/4 t. crushed red pepper
1 T. butter

Put all of the above into a small crockpot and let it simmer the afternoon away in indolence. It smells great, and the butter with the tomato on low heat simmering does amazing things. I’ve been stirring mine about once per hour all afternoon and it is going to be amazing.

For the ziti:

Prepared tomato sauce
1 box ziti pasta 

  • Prepared by boiling in salted water until just under being soft (don’t over cook it, it will be gross after being in the oven) (overcooked pasta is a pet peeve of mine, it should be almost crisp in the center) (I like to abuse parantheses) (A lot).

1/2 pound fresh mozarella 

  • Cubed (I use an egg slicer to make little dices, but large chunks or slices would be good too)

Parmesan cheese, grated

Combine all of the above in a casserole dish and top with lots of parmesan cheese and perhaps a bit more of the fresh mozarella. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Yummy add ins:

Fresh basil chiffonade on top after baking
Chopped spinach mixed in prior to baking
Frozen peas prior to baking
Fresh mushroom prior to baking

I’m still working on how I like the recipes formatted on here. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

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