Sunday, May 9, 2010

Baked Ziti with Goat Cheese and Olives

I am so behind on cooking lately.  I have so many delicious recipes that I want to make and yet I find myself lacking the appetite (thank you all-you-can-eat Indian buffet), the time (it is hockey season), or the motivation (why yes, baguette and cheese with tomato and fruit does sound like a delicious dinner!).  I think I'm also in a rut.  So here you find yet another pasta recipe.  In my defense, I wanted something that would be easy to throw together for having people over for dinner and reheat well for leftovers.  Nothing seems to reheat as well as baked pasta.  Baked ziti is an old favourite of mine.  It's like lasagna, except much, much simpler ... no crazy layering!  Just combine pasta sauce, meat, mozzarella, and bake!  Of course, my aversion to buying meat right now is being reinforced by the fact that it would necessitate a trip to another grocery store (yes, I'm still mourning the temporary closing of my Metro and being forced to shop at the Val-Mont, which while lovely does not sell most meats or seafood).  Thankfully, Mark Bittman comes to the rescue in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.  The thing I love about this cookbook is it gives you a basic recipe (say baked ziti), but then offers you variations on the theme (maybe you'd prefer it with ricotta or a walnut sauce ... or goat cheese and olives).  I wasn't too crazy about the idea of a mushroom based dish, but the goat cheese sounded marvelous and olives instead of mushrooms? ... even better!  (I seem to remember not really liking olives as recently as a few months ago, but let's just say they're growing on me.)

I kept fairly close to his variation on the ziti. The only big change was using a can of crushed tomatoes instead of diced ... but the Val-Mont didn't seem to have a large can of diced tomatoes and I wasn't about the chop them myself!

Baked Ziti with Goat Cheese and Olives (from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian)

salt & pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup pitted olives (I just used a can, I'm not entirely sure how much was in there!)
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves minced garlic
1 28-ounce can tomatoes (diced or crushed)
500g ziti or other pasta
125g goat cheese (I used a Quebec cheese with fine herb seasoning)
1/2 - 1 cup grated mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Preheat the oven to 400F.
2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil.  Add onion and garlic and cook until softened.  Add in olives and can of tomatoes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil and allow to simmer while the pasta cooks.
3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta until just tender.  Drain.  Toss with sauce and mix in goat cheese.
4. Grease a large baking dish and pour in pasta mixture.  Top with mozzarella and Parmesan.
5. Bake 20 - 30 minutes or until the top is browned and cheese is bubbly.

1 comment:

  1. I'm trying this tonight. Looks delish. Thanks for your blog. I love it and plan to try all your recipes!