Do you ever appear at your existence and wonder just how you came to be the place you are nowadays?
I had one of these moments in the kitchen this previous week when I was creating this chicken parmesan baked ziti.
Granted, any baked pasta dish usually brings me back to my university days when my roommates and I basically lived on pasta bakes night after night following glorious evening. I can distinctly keep in mind my twenty-12 months-old self, standing above a boiling pot of water, meticulously reading the directions on the back of that $1 package deal of inexpensive ziti, setting the oven timer for nonetheless numerous minutes the bundle prescribed, not obtaining a clue what “al dente” truly meant. But each time that timer went off, I would dutifully drain the pasta and toss it what ever jarred spaghetti sauce we had in the pantry and a bag of mozzarella shredded cheese, and pop it in the oven to bake.
Oh yes. Back then, this is what I considered a fancy home-cooked meal.
Effectively, if we actually felt like going fancy and had a handful of bucks to spare, my roommates and I may toss in some pepperoni or maybe some of the powdered Parmesan we kept in the fridge. But most nights, it was easy pasta + sauce + cheese, and that was a huge phase up from what was getting served in the cafeteria. And after it came out of the oven, you’d better believe that pals and roommates appeared out of nowhere to come support with the leftovers. 🙂
Quickly forward a decade later, and I’m nonetheless generating outdated-school pasta bakes, but I’ve learned a couple of issues given that. I can’t remember the final time I essential to appear at the guidelines for how lengthy to cook a bag of pasta, but I do look these days at the labels to see if there are clean ingredients within. I’m also not anxious about trying to replicate the actual recipe, and alternatively truly feel confident tossing in what ever additional components I may possibly have on hand. I also now know the worth of generously salting your pasta water, and the wonder of including in some fresh basil. But a decade later, the determination behind cooking remains the identical — I love to make meals and share it with folks I love. Even if it’s super straightforward, and perhaps no longer very what I would contemplate “fancy”. Great food is good meals, and it is meant to be shared.
So right now I’m sharing with you a modern recipe mashup I made for some close friends. It’s all of the goodness of chicken parmesan, turned into a baked ziti dish. I get in touch with it…(prepare by yourself for the brilliance of the identify)…
…Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti.
The inspiration for this in fact came from everyone’s response to this Chicken Alfredo Baked Ziti recipe that I posted last month. Oh my goodness, you guys, this recipe skyrocked to the leading of this blog’s statistics and has stayed there ever given that. I forgot how a lot the world loves baked ziti!
In my mind, this will often be known as a simple university-design “pasta bake”. But when you use ziti, I guess the traditional name is apropos. )
So for a somewhat different twist on the traditional, I considered it would be entertaining to use one of my favourite Pomodoro Fresco tomato sauces from DeLallo and make a “chicken parmesan”-inspired model of baked ziti. Several of you know that I really like to make homemade marinara sauce, but when I’m pressed for time, I usually turn to this scrumptious line of sauces from DeLallo. By contrast to numerous sauces at the grocery store, DeLallo’s sauces are produced from total, all-natural substances. And they truly tastes fresh and very good, not processed and overly sweetened. Just good. On just about something. 🙂
I went with DeLallo’s Pomodoro Fresco Tomato Basil Sauce for this recipe, but any of their pasta sauces would be fantastic (specially my other favourite, the Spicy Arrabiatta Sauce).
To make the baked ziti, I cooked up a batch of penne ziti and then tossed it with the sauce. Then for the “chicken parmesan” twist, I added in some shredded cooked chicken, chopped fresh basil, and lots of grated Parmesan.
I know that traditional chicken parmesan calls for you to bread and pan-fry the chicken. But I considered the dish already had a lot of taste and texture with no incorporating the additional fat/calories. And hey, true to the title, we’re which includes plenty of chicken and lots of Parmesan. So I’m sticking with it.
Accurate to school dorm-space form, I did even now include in really a bit of mozzarella cheese, which can make everything ooey and gooey and superb.
So generally, you layer it all up and then pop your dish in the oven…
…and 20 minutes later on, this deliciously cheesy dish is prepared to go. Just best it with some extra Parmesan and fresh basil, and serve!
It absolutely feels wild that a decade has passed and I have somehow realized my way confidently about a kitchen in the time because. And — yes — now am even a total-time food blogger. (That task wasn’t even invented when I was back in school!) But I love that dishes like these are even now a portion of my existence, and are just as comforting right now as they have been 10 many years ago. Because I undoubtedly hope to nevertheless be making this one particular tens many years form now, and ten years following that, and after that….