Pasta is my ultimate comfort food: Whenever I'm feeling down, tired, or super hungry, pasta with slightly spicy tomato sauce is the dish I crave the most. And this recipe for baked ziti satisfies like almost nothing else can. Because, let's get serious, what's better than layers of creamy ricotta, gooey mozzarella, and nutty parmesan in between tender, tomato-covered noodles? I really can't say. Unless we were going to start talking about dessert...Click here to see Cozy Comfort Food Recipes.
Growing up, my mom didn't cook very many American foods; mostly we stuck to traditional Indonesian dishes. However, she had a particular fondness for casserole, for whatever reason. So when it was casserole night, we always ate the same casserole — a mix of leftover sandwich meat from the school week, usually Oscar Mayer ham, chopped up Kraft singles, diced chicken breast, and elbow macaroni all held together by some sort of creamy concoction I could never readily identify. It was then baked in the oven until all of the elbow macaroni on top turned crunchy and the sides burnt.
I am not happy to say it, but I have to say it — my mother is a wonderful cook and despite having gone to culinary school, I still have no clue how to make many of the traditional dishes she made in my childhood, but casserole night was a night I dreaded. I understood its purpose as a catch-all for anything left in the refrigerator, but I didn't understand why it couldn’t taste better.
Thus, since I started running Recipe SWAT Team, I knew that one week, I would have to confront this challenge: to make a casserole that I would be thrilled to eat. Here's what I came up with.
Click here to see Casserole Recipe Redux