Lately I've been on a bit of an American food bender. Perhaps recent events have given me another reason to admire you freedom-loving crazies, as pulled pork, BBQ ribs, and the Rueben sandwich have all graced my table at some point over the last month. That will all get written up in due course, but today I wanted to show you my baked ziti. What other dish combines pasta, bolognese sauce, and mozzarella cheese, and still manages to remain a wholly American invention?
I can feel myself reaching the limit of what 6 seasons of The Sopranos taught me about baked ziti, so to avoid looking like a fool I will stop right there. The recipe below is for an individual serving baked in a bowl — which is convenient when you're cooking for one (cue the violins) — but it could just as easily be scaled up to fill a whole casserole dish. And just to be parochial, it uses the warm weather bolognese I wrote about the other day.
Now I'm no Italian-American, so I would love for someone who knows what they're talking about to tell me how I've butchered their classic*. Who knows, maybe one day I can make a batch that even Livia wouldn't criticise.
Ingredients (makes one serving):
- 110g ziti/rigatoni, cooked to al dente
- 3/4 cup warm weather bolognese
- 2 tbsp cream
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Grated mozzarella cheese
1. Preheat an oven to 180ºC/350ªF. Combine all of the ingredients except the cheese, and adjust seasoning. Transfer this to an oven safe bowl, scatter generously with grated mozzarella, and bake until golden on top.
2. Pat yourself on the back for freezing batches of bolognese sauce.
* It just occurred to me that my so-called baked ziti contains no ziti.