This is our first dish from this month’s cookbook, which we have (lovingly) nicknamed “Otto-Impossible: The Sequel.”
Perhaps that’s a misnomer, because the recipes I’ve done so far– including this one– aren’t impossible, just time consuming. So maybe it’s not a fair name, but it is catchy.
This ziti dish is just a variation on baked ziti, the Italian-American classic that we’ve enjoyed many times. In that dish, you boil up some ziti (which we know as penne pasta), toss it in a dish with tomato sauce, then add as much mozzarella as you like. It’s pretty easy to make and I always loved it. Baked ziti was a staple of my American childhood, as no buffet would be complete without it.
This recipe takes baked ziti to a new level. While it does have the basic components of the baked ziti we know and love, the new additions, like caraway, cumin and celery, elevate it to a new level. Having three different kinds of cheese (though no mozzarella) make it that much better. Finishing it off under the grill was unexpected, but it worked.
Would I make it again? You bet. For someone who grew up on traditional baked ziti, the addition of caraway and cumin was a surprise, but it was all the better for it.