Thursday, September 11, 2014

Four Cheese Baked Ziti

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If Food & Wine says it's okay to use jarred tomato sauce then who am I to argue? It's nice for them to acknowledge it's value in the kitchen. As much as I like to make homemade sauce there's not always enough time left in the day to make it from scratch and most nights I'm reaching for a jar of sauce for our pasta.

Which brings me to the baked ziti I made recently. I was inspired after reading this post from Adam Roberts (aka The Amateur Gourmet), which led me to a recipe on the Food & Wine website. I agree with Adam - everyone needs a good baked ziti recipe.

The Food & Wine recipe served as inspiration for my final concoction. I took some liberty with the ingredients and switched things up to make it my own. First, I cut the recipe back to just four servings. As much as I love baked ziti I don't love eating it for days and days. Four servings is the perfect amount for us, although the recipe can easily be doubled. I also left out the meat and went a little crazy with the cheese -- four different types in total which resulted in a creamy, cheesy soul satisfying dish.

Four Cheese Baked Ziti
Inspired by Food & Wine
Serves 4

1/2 lb ziti
1 cup ricotta cheese
2/3 cup feta, crumbled
2/3 mozzarella, shredded
1/2 cup parmesan, plus some for serving, grated
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
2 & 1/2 cups tomato sauce

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Boil the pasta according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking combine the ricotta, feta, mozzarella, parmesan, pepper, parsley, and basil in a medium bowl.

Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Stir in the sauce and then the cheese. Leave a few lumps of cheese in the pasta, it doesn't have to be completely incorporated. Pour into an 8 x 8 baking dish. Feel free to grate some more parm over the top, or not. It's up to you. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until it's nice and bubbly. Let it rest a few minutes before serving.


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