by Lisa

There are times in the family when I feel like the caterer. Then there are the times when I really am the caterer. Like last weekend, when most of our family living space was taken over by leprechaun-trap builders.  This the fifth year of trap building and it’s, well, escalated over the years. This year, the kids begain to plan in Februry, and the real construction madness took place over the final weekend on our kitchen table, picnic table, kitchen floor, breakfast counter, car port.  Activities included, but were not limited to:  foam board cutting; non-stop hot glue-ing; measuring & planning on the kitchen table; painting on the kitchen floor; dremmeling in the car port; tinker-toy pulley making; Lego stair building; trap-door cutting; paper-mache-ing.

Which meant dinner was impossible when things looked like this.

The only choice I had was to clear a small section of counter for a baked ziti, which the kids call “pizza pasta”, some spinach, flat bread, and a bottle of wine. They ate when and where they liked. Ella called it the “on and off dinner” and has been begging for it ever since. I have not obliged.

Eventually A few days later, things were cleaned up.

Baked Ziti

  • 1 lb ziti
  • 1 container ricotta cheese (15 oz)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 8 oz grated fresh mozzarella cheese, plus more for slicing
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan
  • salt and pepper
  • optional: dried oregano, dash nutmeg
  • 4-6 cups of your favorite red sauce, with or without meat
  1. Cook ziti in boiling water about 1 minute less than recommended cooking time, so it is al dente.
  2. While ziti is cooking, mix ricotta, egg, mozzarella in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper, & oregano and nutmeg if using.
  3. Drain ziti and mix thougoughly with cheeses.
  4. Mix about 2 cups of sauce with cheese and ziti. Add more to taste or if pasta seems dry.
  5. Cover casserole with a few slices of mozzarella and the parmensan.
  6. Bake in oven until cheese is bubbling and casserole is warmed through. The time (15-30 minutes) will depend on the temperature of casserole. If it’s at room temperature, it will take longer.
  7. Serve piping hot with extra sauce and cheese.