I’ve been so consumed by our breast cancer baking campaign, Bake it Happen, that I was on the verge of pulling my hair out when trying to figure out what to make for dinner last night.
Then, I had an aha moment.
I usually never make pasta for dinner, partly because I feel like my children already have an intense relationship with carbs on a daily basis. Yet, as I scanned the pantry and fridge, I realized I had all the fixings for a Baked Ziti dish and I had never made the dish!
I felt so relieved and quite surprised that, out of all of the meals I have challenged myself to cook in the past 3 years, none of them had been Baked Ziti! BONUS.
I had the pasta and the sauce and surprisingly, I had just purchased a fresh 1b of mozzarella cheese that I planned to use for a nice refreshing Caprese salad– that never got made.
The more time I spend in the kitchen, the more I am constantly amazed at how simple, slight variations on celebrated meals can help to diversify dinner time and to decrease the stress involved.
Within minutes of my averted breakdown, I was boiling the pasta and my son was helping me carve away at the mozzarella ball. We were a team and a Baked Ziti our mission.
We got a little creative and decided to cut up some Italian sausage because, why not? It could only enhance the overall flavor of the dish, right? And we weren’t using a traditional meat sauce that’s often used.
So, what happened a mere forty minutes later? I pulled out a beautiful, bubbling, 9×13″ pyrex dish bursting with pasta, tomato sauce, cheese and sausage.
And, lucky for me, dinner for tonight is a no-brainer: LEFTOVERS!
I know you will enjoy.
adapted from Food Network Magazine
1 pound dried ziti pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound Italian sausage
3 tablespoons vidalia onion, diced
3 1/2 cups Tomato Sauce
1 pound fresh mozzarella, half cut into 1/2-inch cubes and half thinly sliced
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and boil the pasta until al dente, tender but still slightly firm. Drain.