Baked Ziti

Another delicious addition to our cooking repertoire!

We may be geeks, but that doesn’t mean we don’t know how to create great things in the kitchen. Some of the best dishes can be made quickly and easily as long as you know what you’re doing. Let’s get cooking!

It’s been an exciting time here at Casual Geekery headquarters. But even with all the chaos that a second child brings, we still need to be able to feed ourselves. Quick and easy recipes are the watchword of our NEW WORLD ORDER. And there’s nothing quicker or easier than baked ziti. You can always just make this with the pasta and the cheeses and sauce, but throwing in a few things – like sausage and spinach – can add to the nutritional goodness of the meal.

While you preheat the oven to 400 degrees and boil the pasta to an al dente state, it’s time to prep the rest of the dish. Take a couple of sausage links and mince them up. If you can find some ground sausage at the store, that’s going to make the whole process a little bit easier. Toss the sausage in a pan on the stove with some oil and cook it up.

As the sausage is cooking on the stove, take an oven-safe container and put in your ricotta cheese. Crack open an egg and mix it into the ricotta and then add in your preferred spices – oregano, black pepper, crushed red pepper, grated parmesan cheese and the like. When the cheese mixture is all made up in the container, it’s time to add in the spinach. Don’t be stingy with the spinach. If it looks a little overwhelming, remember that the greens will shrink a bit as you cook them up.

When the sausage is done, add it to the cheese and spinach mixture as you wait for the pasta to finish cooking. Once you get the pasta to the desired texture – not completely cooked but not too tough – drain it and mix it in as well.

With the pasta mixed in with the cheeses, the sausage and the spinach, it’s time to put the finishing touches on the meal. Pour your favorite sauce – I usually use a vodka sauce because it doesn’t give me the same kind of heartburn that a regular marina does – over top and stir it in so it permeates the whole mixture. Then, take a few handfuls of shredded mozzarella cheese and sprinkle it over top. As an added flavor touch, sprinkle some more grated parmesan cheese there, too.

Put the pan in the over and let it cook until the cheese up top is melted to a beautifully gooey state. It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes or so, but everyone’s ovens vary. Once it’s all finished, take it out, let it cool for a minute or two and then serve.

Another delicious meal, made quick and easy.