Baked Ziti with Feta

I had recently made Jamie Oliver’s Baked Pasta with Tomatoes and Mozzarella, when I came across this similar recipe by Ottolenghi. The concept is the same – cheesey pasta in tomato sauce, baked until melty – the execution is different, with different pastas, different spices, cheeses and cooking methods. They are both great left-over-pasta-and-tomato-sauce dishes – layer with cheese and bake or grill – and hence they would make fabulous Sunday night supper meals.

I think Jamie’s recipe is a winner – easy to make and packed with flavour, and it has an honesty about its simplicity which shines through in the finished dish. Ottolenghi’s version layers the flavours with herbs and spices and uses the bite of feta and the umami of aged cheese and parmesan to add depth to the dish. It is different to Jamie’s in that the pasta is the focus and it is baked until the top layer is crispy and the cheese is golden brown. Delicious. Jamie’s recipe is pasta bathed in tomato sauce, Ottolenghi’s is pasta with a little tomato sauce.

I always preferred my father’s pasta the next day, when he’d put it in a hot oven with heaps of extra cheese. It would emerge slightly burned and very crisp on top.

This recipe serves a heap of people, up to 10, depending on how hungry the mob is. So don’t be afraid to halve it for a smaller family meal. Just note that the baking dish must be big enough to hold the pasta in a shallow layer. Or bake in separate dishes as I did.

I also have to mention that Ottolenghi grills this dish but I baked it. Partly because that is easier in our kitchen, but mostly because the recipe asks that the tomato sauce sits aside while the pasta is cooked, so it has lost heat. Baking heats the dish again beautifully.

As already mentioned, this is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

In fact, it is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar dishes include Baked Pasta with Tomatoes and Mozzarella, Pasta Bake with Cabbage and Cheese, and Pasta Sauce with Aubergine, Red Peppers and Tomatoes.

Browse all of our Pasta dishes, our Baked dishes and our Italian recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Pasta alla Crudaiola | Pasta with a Raw Tomato Sauce

Yay for simple pasta dishes. We have a few recipes for such dishes, and most of them feature tomatoes in some form. Tomatoes are so easy to chop and add to pasta with some olive oil, garlic and basil. A bit of parmesan. And a tasty dish is born.

While the base ingredients are almost the same in the simple dishes, the way they are treated will vary, and that changes the dish. This recipe uses those base ingredients but they are chopped finely to make a sort of uncooked sauce. It is mixed with ricotta and left for an hour for the flavours to develop. Easy. Good.

This dish goes well with any pasta, really. Use short ones, curly ones or long strands. Spaghetti and bucatini are particularly good, and I love it with Penne. It is best made in Summer, or early Autumn, when our Australian tomatoes are at their best.

Are you looking for other Pasta dishes? Try Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes, Fettuccine with Cheese and Pepper, Pasta with a Cauliflower Sauce, and Pasta with Chilli and Olive Oil.

And why not make your own Pasta? How to Make Eggless Pasta.

You can browse all of our Pasta dishes, our many Tomato dishes, and all of our Italian recipes. Or simply browse our Early Autumn dishes.

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Rocket Salad with Penne and Parmesan | Arugula Salad with Penne

Pasta salads are wonderful, don’t you think? Talking with my Italian Providore the other day, she wondered aloud why she and her staff didn’t bring them to work for lunch, instead of their usual sandwiches. And her question is a good one. This salad makes a perfect lunch time dish, an afternoon snack or a dinner accompaniment.

The trick with this salad is to make it a Rocket Salad with Penne, not a Penne Salad with Rocket. So the salad is heavy on rocket and light on penne. Mix it up if you wish, it would also be wonderful with different ratios, but if you are wanting your greens, I recommend trying it this way.

This is another Bittman Salad. After 3 years, we are nearly at the end of working our way through his 101 salads, making all of those that were vegetarian and modifying those that are not. There are about 13 more salads to make, and that feels so close to the end of our journey with Mark. But we shall be a little sad as we make the last one.

You might like to try other Bittman Salads. Try Roasted Sweetcorn and Avocado Salad, Fennel, Tomato and Potato Salad with Garlicky Mayonnaise, Vermicelli and Green Mango Salad, and Charred Tomato Salad with Mint and Lime.

Or some other Pasta Salads? Try Pasta and Roasted Pepper Salad with Walnuts, Light Pasta Salads, and Orzo Pasta with Spinach and Pinenuts.

Browse all of our Bittman Salads here, and all of our Pasta Salads here. Explore all of our Pasta dishes (not just salads), and our Rocket recipes. Or simply browse our Early Winter dishes.

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