Wow. Do I ever have Spring Fever! The days are longer and warmer and all I want to do is enjoy the sunshine. Nearly to the exclusion of everything else. Including cooking. That’s bad. Especially when you have a food blog!
In case no one noticed, I only did one post last week. One measly little post of Roasted Asparagus. That’s because it’s just about all I’ve cooked in the last week or so that was worthy of posting on a blog. I mean, you wouldn’t want me to write posts about macaroni and cheese or hamburgers or spaghetti now would you? So, after nearly a week of being lazy I decided I had to get in the kitchen and do something. Do something even if it was wrong. But I had no idea what I wanted to do. Standing in front of the refrigerator gazing at its contents was no inspiration at all. The freezer held no revelations either. Then I moved to the pantry and just started pulling out things I thought might go together. A box of ziti, cans of tomatoes, onion, garlic…I thought I was on to something. So I went back to the fridge and got some cheese. It was starting to sound pretty good.
What I finally wound up with was this very easy Ziti Bake recipe. It was surprisingly good and vegetarian, too. Even BeeBop (Mr. Meat & Potatoes) liked it. A lot. He had seconds.
1 lb. ziti
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, chopped
2 tblsp. olive oil
3 cans diced tomatoes with juice
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
5 oz. Gruyere cheese, grated
5 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Place a large pot of well salted water on to boil. Cook ziti according to package directions. Set aside.
Grate the cheese and set it aside. I used Gruyere and Cheddar in this because that was what I had on hand. It will be equally good and more traditional with a combination of mozzarella and parmesan.
Chop a medium onion and a large clove of garlic. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the olive oil, onion and garlic and cook until the onion begins to caramelize.
Add tomatoes along with their juice. Add salt and pepper to taste, parsley and basil.
Cook for 8-10 minutes or until liquid has reduced and the tomato sauce is thickened.
Drain the ziti and return to the pan. Add the reduced tomato sauce and 2/3 of the cheese. Mix well.
Turn into an oiled or sprayed casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese and bread crumbs. You can dot the top with butter if you want, but I don’t think it adds much to the finished dish.
Cook for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.