Friday, November 26, 2010

Baked Ziti

This an easy dinner to make.  Its one of my New York Italian food favorites.  So many restaurants serve a bad baked ziti like when the noodles and cheese are burnt.  Some requirements for a great baked ziti are:  Low oven temperature, a great tomato sauce, quality cheese and al dente ziti noodles.
     Recipe:  Mix ricotta cheese, raw egg, chopped basil, grated parmesan, grated asiago cheese, grated mozzarella and grated provolone cheese.  Cook some ziti noodles till al dente then cool them under running cold water.  Drain all excess water from the noodles.
     Mix the noodles, the cheese mixture and some salsa pomodoro together gently in a mixing bowl.  (The salsa pomodoro recipe is in my "Calamari e Spaghetti alla Salsa Pomodoro" recipe blog entry.)  Pour a little salsa pomodoro on a baking pan.  Spread the ziti noodle mix over the tomato sauce.  Spoon a little salsa pomodoro over the ziti mix.  Bake uncovered at 325 degrees till hot and the cheese is just starting to melt.  Remove the pan from the oven.
     Spread a little bit of salsa pomodoro on an oven proof dinner plate.  Use a serving spoon to pile the ziti mix on the plate.  Spoon a little salsa pomodoro over the ziti mound.  Sprinkle some grated mozzarella and grated provolone over the ziti mound.  Place the plate with the ziti and cheese back in the oven till the cheese softens.  (Don't brown the cheese!)  Remove the plate from the oven and serve.
     Remind your guest that the plate is hot.  The aroma is so nice.  The flavor of baked ziti is awesome!  Its hard to stop eating a good baked ziti after you take that first bite.  What looks like a lot of food on the plate really is not that much.  Ziti are hallow pasta so there is plenty of empty air space in that huge looking mound of baked ziti.  Ciao Baby!  ...   Shawna

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