On particularly cold & blustery nights....
When all you want to do is cuddle up in your comfy cozies....
You can take solace in baking.
Baked ziti may not sound all that impressive, but my belly would disagree with you. This baked ziti is simply marvelous. My humble dish-washer and I feasted on this dish two nights in a row (mathematicians take note, this is 4 main-course servings).
Supplemented with a simple salad, this is the carbohydrate-lovers perfect winter weeknight meal. If you are me, a simple salad consists of arugula, fresh cilantro and/or basil, lime juice, olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
And on a particularly grueling day, a lone can of your cheapest brew.
Baked Ziti with Three Cheeses
(adapted from the Williams-Sonoma Cookbook: The Essential Recipe Collection for Today's Home Cook)
Olive oil for coating and drizzling
1 c. ricotta
1 egg yolk
1 c. freshly grated asiago or pecorino romano
A generous pinch of ground nutmeg
1/4 c. dried parsley
salt & pepper
1 lb. dried ziti
Your favorite tomato sauce (I used 1.5 28-oz. cans of Trader Joe's pasta sauce)
1/2 lb. mozzarella, cut into cubes
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Coat your baking dishes (I used one rectangular and one square pyrex dish). Bring salted water to boil, and cook your pasta until it is al dente (12-16 minutes).
Combine egg yolk, ricotta, half of the asiago, nutmeg, and parsley in your largest mixing bowl. Toss well. Add the heated tomato sauce, mozzarella, and drained pasta. Toss again.
Transfer mixture to your coated baking dishes. Smooth on top. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle the remaining asiago. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes until bubbling and lightly browned. Let the baked ziti rest for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh basil if desired.
Photos 1 and 2 courtesy of Urban Decay