Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti

Gimme Some Oven
Wed, 24 Sep 2014 10:02:15 +0000
Do you ever look at your life and wonder just how you came to be where you are today?<br /><br />I had one of those moments in the kitchen this past week when I was making this chicken parmesan baked ziti.<br /><br />Granted, any baked pasta dish always brings me back to my college days when my roommates and I basically lived on pasta bakes night after night after glorious night. I can distinctly remember my 20-year-old self, standing over a boiling pot of water, carefully reading the instructions on the back of that $1 package of cheap ziti, setting the oven timer for however many minutes the package prescribed, not having a clue what “al dente” actually meant. But whenever that timer went off, I would dutifully drain the pasta and toss it whatever jarred spaghetti sauce we had in the pantry and a bag of mozzarella shredded cheese, and pop it in the oven to bake.<br /><br />Oh yes. Back then, this is what I considered a fancy home-cooked meal.<br /><br />Well, if we really felt like going fancy and had a few dollars to spare, my roommates and I might toss in some pepperoni or maybe some of the powdered Parmesan we kept in the fridge. But most nights, it was simple pasta + sauce + cheese, and that was a big step up from what was being served in the cafeteria. And once it came out of the oven, you’d better believe that friends and roommates appeared out of nowhere to come help with the leftovers. :)<br /><br />Fast forward a decade later, and I’m still making old-school pasta bakes, but I’ve learned a few things since. I can’t remember the last time I needed to look at the instructions for how long to cook a bag of pasta, but I do look nowadays at the labels to see if there are clean ingredients inside. I’m also not anxious about trying to replicate the exact recipe, and instead feel confident tossing in whatever extra ingredients I might have on hand. I also now know the value of generously salting your pasta water, and the wonder of adding in some fresh basil. But a decade later, the motivation behind cooking remains the same — I love to make food and share it with people I love. Even if it’s super simple, and perhaps no longer quite what I would consider “fancy”. Good food is good food, and it is meant to be shared.<br /><br />So today I’m sharing with you a modern recipe mashup I made for some friends. It’s all of the goodness of chicken parmesan, turned into a baked ziti dish. I call it…(prepare yourself for the brilliance of the name)…<br /><br />…Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti.<br /><br />Read moreChicken Parmesan Baked Ziti
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