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.
Casserole might not be the first thing to come to mind when it comes to good eats, but there's a special place in people's hearts for pasta al forno. It's probably all the melted mozzarella and pecorino. How can anything with this much cheese be anything but a home run?
This cold pasta is a summer festival in a bowl: delicious, crunchy sweet corn; earthy pan-roasted zucchini, refreshing fresh herbs, salty feta cheese… and most of all, the amazingly flavorful heirlooms. The Black Russian, Pruden’s Purple, or any red heirloom beefsteak tomatoes will be marvelous in this dish.
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Click here to see 15 Tastiest Heirloom Tomato Recipes.
I often throw together this pasta (a one-stop meal!) when I've had a long, busy day. The only thing I need to buy is the chicory — the rest of the ingredients have a permanent spot in my pantry — so I don't even have to come up with a shopping list.
Prepping the ingredients for this recipe is easy enough, so the dish comes together rather quickly and that's just what this hungry, tired cook needs on such nights!
But the best part about this bowl of pasta is that every bite is as delicious as it is nourishing. The earthy greens, the spicy chile peppers, the chewy pasta, the savory, crunchy breadcrumbs — everything you could possibly want, or crave — is in this one beautiful bowl.
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