Do you ever appear at your lifestyle and wonder just how you came to be in which you are these days?
I had one of those moments in the kitchen this past week when I was creating this chicken parmesan baked ziti.
Granted, any baked pasta dish usually brings me back to my college days when my roommates and I essentially lived on pasta bakes evening soon after evening after glorious night. I can distinctly remember my 20-12 months-outdated self, standing over a boiling pot of water, carefully reading the instructions on the back of that $1 package of low-cost ziti, setting the oven timer for nonetheless several minutes the package prescribed, not possessing 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 deemed a fancy home-cooked meal.
Effectively, if we really felt like going fancy and had a couple of dollars to spare, my roommates and I may well toss in some pepperoni or maybe some of the powdered Parmesan we kept in the fridge. But most nights, it was straightforward pasta + sauce + cheese, and that was a massive stage up from what was currently being served in the cafeteria. And when it came out of the oven, you’d better think that close friends and roommates appeared out of nowhere to come aid with the leftovers. 🙂
Fast forward a decade later on, and I’m even now creating previous-college pasta bakes, but I’ve discovered a number of things since. I can’t don’t forget the final time I essential to appear at the instructions for how prolonged to cook a bag of pasta, but I do appear these days at the labels to see if there are clean substances inside. I’m also not anxious about making an attempt to replicate the precise recipe, and alternatively feel assured tossing in no matter what additional substances I may have on hand. I also now know the value of generously salting your pasta water, and the wonder of incorporating in some fresh basil. But a decade later, the determination behind cooking stays the very same — I love to make meals and share it with men and women I really like. Even if it’s super easy, and probably no longer fairly what I would contemplate “fancy”. Great meals is good foods, and it is meant to be shared.
So right now I’m sharing with you a modern day recipe mashup I made for some pals. It’s all of the goodness of chicken parmesan, turned into a baked ziti dish. I contact it…(put together your self for the brilliance of the identify)…
…Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti.
The inspiration for this truly came from everyone’s reaction to this Chicken Alfredo Baked Ziti recipe that I posted last month. Oh my goodness, you guys, this recipe skyrocked to the best of this blog’s statistics and has stayed there ever because. I forgot how significantly the globe loves baked ziti!
In my thoughts, this will usually be called a easy university-design “pasta bake”. But when you use ziti, I guess the classic title is apropos. )
So for a somewhat diverse twist on the classic, I thought it would be entertaining to use one particular of my preferred Pomodoro Fresco tomato sauces from DeLallo and make a “chicken parmesan”-inspired edition of baked ziti. Several of you know that I enjoy to make homemade marinara sauce, but when I’m pressed for time, I often turn to this delicious line of sauces from DeLallo. By contrast to numerous sauces at the grocery keep, DeLallo’s sauces are produced from complete, all-organic components. And they truly tastes fresh and excellent, not processed and overly sweetened. Just good. On just about anything. 🙂
I went with DeLallo’s Pomodoro Fresco Tomato Basil Sauce for this recipe, but any of their pasta sauces would be excellent (particularly my other favored, 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 plenty of grated Parmesan.
I know that classic chicken parmesan requires you to bread and pan-fry the chicken. But I believed the dish currently had loads of taste and texture with out adding the extra excess fat/calories. And hey, correct to the identify, we’re including plenty of chicken and lots of Parmesan. So I’m sticking with it.
Accurate to school dorm-space form, I did nevertheless include in very a bit of mozzarella cheese, which tends to make every little thing ooey and gooey and superb.
So essentially, you layer it all up and then pop your dish in the oven…
…and twenty minutes later on, this deliciously cheesy dish is ready to go. Just top it with some extra Parmesan and fresh basil, and serve!
It absolutely feels wild that a decade has passed and I have by some means discovered my way confidently about a kitchen in the time since. And — yes — now am even a total-time food blogger. (That occupation wasn’t even invented when I was back in university!) But I really like that dishes like these are nonetheless a portion of my daily life, and are just as comforting today as they have been ten many years ago. Since I definitely hope to nevertheless be making this one particular tens many years form now, and ten many years right after that, and soon after that….