Baked Ziti Love

I borrowed this picture from (I borrowed a copy of the recipe from there, too). Click on the photo to find it!

Last night we had some old friends over for dinner.  After brief consideration, I chose a main dish I thought everyone (including Zoe) would enjoy: baked ziti.

When I say baked ziti, I mean the Cook’s Illustrated recipe from 2009.  (Pro Tip: I also mean baked rigatoni, since it is surprisingly difficult to find ziti, but “baked rigatoni” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.)  

This is not a challenging dish to prepare, but it does take a fair amount of time, so while Zoe took a blessedly long nap I boiled and chopped and stirred.  I cooked in silence, which is such a lovely sound sometimes, and as I cooked I thought about some of the other times I’ve made this creamy, cheesy delight.  Most notably:

My dad’s 65th birthday.  Tiny seminary apartment kitchen, two pans worth of ziti, five months pregnant, all the leaves in the table, all the Chicago Luxes in attendance.  Cook’s Illustrated yellow cake with chocolate frosting for dessert.

Seminary Progressive Dinner.  Everyone else made lasagna, but I went for the ziti.  I was six or seven months pregnant.  I ate a stunning amount of cheesy pasta in those nine months.

This time, the tomato sauce was a tiny bit thin and the noodles were slightly overcooked.  Zoe refused to eat it.  (Pro Tip: Her refusal was not based on these small imperfections; it was based on being two-and-a-half years old.)  But that was beside the point.

I treasured the chance to make a special meal that reminded me of other special meals.  I treasured the conversation we had over that not-quite-perfect baked ziti.

And: I treasure the fact that we will enjoy the leftovers for supper tonight.



Filed under Taste and See

11 responses to “Baked Ziti Love

  1. Claire

    yummm. I remember that baked ziti well 🙂 and that birthday party. hard to believe that was three years ago!


  2. Claire

    i also like that this post is tagged as “pregnant”


  3. Katie Streit

    this is too funny. this exact recipe is also one of my go-to favorites. great minds think alike 🙂


    • I love it! We do have two great minds, my friend. (Did you hear that on the puzzle on NPR this morning?)


      • Kristin

        I heard it! (I could not guess that one. So, I forgave Will and the host (whose name I didn’t bother to remember — it’s just not the same without our friend Lianne).)


      • Yay! I couldn’t guess it either. Or the tennis player (all I had was Billie Jean King, like the listener). It is not the same, is it? I liked Audie Cornish, who apparently is filling in on All Things Considered this year. This one is called Rachel. Meh.


  4. Love baked ziti (or rigatoni). When pregnant with Laura, I had HUGE cravings for pasta and red sauce. I could not get enough baked ziti. Laura is now a pasta junky, which I ascribe to her womb exposure.

    BTW… I love how you and your friend are geeking out about NPR 🙂


    • With Zoe, it was mostly boxed mac and cheese. Of course she loves it now, but I think that’s just because most kids her age do.

      Oh, my friend Kristin and I can geek out about NPR like nobody’s business. At a Milwaukee Public Radio sponsored concert years ago, the local public radio host introduced the artist, and when he introduced himself we both squealed loudly, “Bruce Winter!” It was a little embarrassing.


  5. That kind of thnkiing shows you’re an expert


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