My Baked Ziti ~

A guest post, well sort of....

A few weeks ago, my youngest son called and said he wanted my recipe for my baked ziti.  Our conversation goes something like this:  "Mom, I want to bring your baked ziti to a friend's house, what do I need to buy?" (Usually this means he is in the grocery store shopping for the items and needs the recipe sans pronto).  So this recipe is from the top of my head, since I have made it without ever using a recipe.  It was one of those dishes handed down to me, while I watched my former Italian MIL making it and I took notes.  Notes that have been long since gone by the wayside, no longer needed as long as my memory holds up.  Thus, one reason for blogging, my children...

Now they have some of my recipes documented, since I neither
scrapbook or am much good at keeping notes.

So, from my memory to my son's friend's table, here is the recipe.  And he was nice enough to send my a picture from his cell after he put it together.  So that's what I meant about having "sort of" a guest blogger. :)

Oh, he used a 9 x 13 pyrex dish.  I use a large round, ceramic, very deep baking bowl.  If you choose to use the pyrex, you will have to use an extra square baking dish, because this makes quite a large amount.

Baked Ziti

16 ounces ziti pasta, uncooked (Barilla, might be 1&1/2 boxes)

3 cups spaghetti sauce (about)

2 lb container of whole milk ricotta cheesw

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese,  (save out 1/4 cup for top,   set aside)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon black pepper.
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (about). I don't measure this, just sprinkle on top.

Cook ziti according to package directions; drain well. (undercook by a minute or two)

Add about 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce to the cooked ziti, toss and set aside.

In a large bowl add the, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese and eggs, mix well,(add a pinch of salt and a grind of black pepper to this).

In a very large, oven proof bowl, or a 9 x 13 pyrex dish, add 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce and spread around.
Spoon half of the ziti mixture of the top, kind of evenly, but don't fuss.
By spoonfuls, drop half of the ricotta mixture and spread it out a little.  No need to have everything covered, the cheese will melt nice and gooey.

Top with (about 1 cup, by large spoonfuls) spaghetti sauce, spread a bit, but don't be fussy.  Just trust me on this....

Place the remaining ziti on top, kind of evenly... It's supposed to look rustic.  It's a peasant dish.

Spread the rest of the ricotta mixture over the top of the ziti.

Top with about 1 cup of spaghetti sauce, but don't spread or fuss really. Just use a large tablepoon and cover most everything.  Some of the cheese will be showing from underneath.

Top with the reserved mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Cover with
Aluminum foil. Not tightly, because the cheese will stick to the foil,  just tent it loosely.
Bake covered in the middle rack, of a pre-heated 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then uncover the foil and place back in oven for about 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and lay foil over the top and let rest for another 15 minutes.

Enjoy ~


Vegetable Tian ~ Barefoot Contessa ~ easy and delicious.....

As summer wanes and while we still have a bounty of fresh veggies, I decided to make this dish.  I made it as a  brunch side dish and it was such a hit, but then again wouldn't anything be a hit with fresh garden vegetables and gruyere cheese?  ;)

Instead of layering the vegetables, I lined them up this way.  And I didn't use a 9 x 13 pan, mine was an 8 x 8 square dish.  My vegetables were on the smaller side, which I like much better especially with zucchini and summer squash.  I also use roma tomatoes for cooked dishes as I think they hold up much nicer.  Anyway you make this dish, it's a winner.  Don't you think?

Vegetable Tian

  • Good olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, cut in half and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound medium round potatoes, unpeeled
  • 3/4 pound zucchini
  • 1 1/4 pounds medium tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, plus extra sprigs
  • 2 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Brush a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish with olive oil. In a medium saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the onions over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Spread the onion mixture on the bottom of the baking dish.

Slice the potatoes, zucchini, and tomatoes in 1/4-inch thick slices. Layer them alternately in the dish on top of the onions, fitting them tightly, making only 1 layer. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme leaves, and thyme sprigs and drizzle with 1 more tablespoon of olive oil. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Uncover the dish, remove the thyme sprigs, sprinkle the cheese on top, and bake for another 30 minutes until browned. Serve warm.



Almost time to say goodbye to Summer ~

There is nothing I like about saying goodbye to Summer, and yet the time has come.... Well almost.  We will have a few nice weekends left in September and October, so I just can't complain too much.  But soon, very soon, our lovely warm and gorgeous weather will be behind us and we will be facing a cold, harsh and long winter.  Then perhaps I'll complain some...

So, as I close out my summer days, I do so with a nice, big lobster dinner.  It's my favorite summer food. And it's very plentiful here in the Northeast throughout the summer and relatively inexpensive. 

This time I steamed my lobster and served it with a simple peach and red onion salsa, with just sliced garden tomatoes and basil.  Doesn't get much easier than steaming this big guy for about 15 minutes, now does it? 

Yum ~


Gerard's Mustard Tart - Adapted from Dorie Greenspan

This is a truly beautiful tart that is delicious just out of the oven, warm, at room temperature, or even slightly chilled.  The distinct flavor of the mustard hits your palate, but does not overwhelm the flavor of the other ingredients.  It's a keeper for me....... big yum!


    • 3 carrots, trimmed and peeled
    • 3 thin leeks, white and light green parts only, cut lengthwise in half and washed
    • 2 rosemary sprigs
    • 3 large eggs
    • 6 tablespoons creme fraiche or 6 tablespoons heavy cream
    • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
    • 2 tablespoons grainy mustard, preferably French ( I used Trader Joe's)
    • salt and pepper
    • 1 9- to 9 1/2-inch tart shells, made from Dorie's Basic French Tart Dough, partially baked and cooled ( I used store bought)


Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

Cut the carrots and leeks into slender batons or sticks: First cut the carrots lengthwise in half, then place the halves cut side down on the cutting board and cut crosswise in half or cut into chunks about 3 inches long. Cut the pieces into 1/8- to ¼-inch-thick matchsticks. If your carrots were fat and you think your matchsticks don’t look svelte enough, cut them lengthwise in half. Cut the leeks in the same way.
Fit a steamer basket into a saucepan. Pour in enough water to come almost up to the steamer, cover, and bring to a boil. Drop the carrots, leeks, and 1 rosemary sprig into the basket, cover, and steam until the vegetables are tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain the vegetables and pat them dry; discard the rosemary sprig.
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs together with the crème fraîche or heavy cream. Add the mustard, season with salt and white pepper — mustard has a tendency to be salty, so proceed accordingly, and whisk to blend. Taste and see if you want to add a little more of one or the other mustards.
Put the tart pan on the lined baking sheet and pour the filling into the crust. Arrange the vegetables over the filling — they can go in any which way, but they’re attractive arranged in spokes coming out from the center of the tart. Top with the remaining rosemary sprig and give the vegetables a sprinkling of salt and a couple of turns of the peppermill.

Bake the tart for about 30 minutes, or until it is uniformly puffed and lightly browned here and there and a knife inserted into the center of the custard comes out clean. Transfer the tart to a cooling rack and let it rest for 5 minutes before removing the sides of the pan. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature (or lightly chilled).

I had to cover my outer edges of my pie shell for the last 15 minutes of baking.  It was still really delicious, even though my edges were a bit dark for my liking.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 (125 g)
Servings Per Recipe: 4

Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value
Calories 202.1
Calories from Fat 115