It was the night before Thanksgiving (yes, I am still blogging about Thanksgiving) and I wanted to eat something my mom would make. Let’s say I was attempting to summon some kind of culinary genius to aid me in the following day’s demands.
My mom has the gift of transforming simple ingredients and techniques into a dish greater than the sum of its parts. Take baked ziti, for example. She makes a slow-cooked sauce rendered with neck bones that coats noodles that are cooked just right. She experiments with ratios and ingredients, but it always comes out smashing.
Here is my attempt at, not replicating her baked ziti–but hoping that it would be half as good as hers.
Make the sauce: sweat onions and garlic in olive oil. Add sausage (casings removed) and cook until no longer pink. Add a can of San Marzano tomatoes and simmer for 30 minutes. Blend in a blender or with an immersion blender so that the sausage is in small, uniform pieces.
While the sauce is simmering, cook pasta of your choice till just under al dente. Then, season ricotta cheese with S & P, and herbs of your choice.
Next, layer the ziti: sauce, pasta, ricotta. Repeat until there’s nothing left, and top with mozzarella cheese. Bake in a 375-degree Fahrenheit oven until hot and bubbling.