Although my lovely daughter will not eat spaghetti with any kind of tomato sauce, insisting that she does not like tomatoes, she reguarly will eat other types of pasta with tomato sauce. This has been pointed out to her, on numerous occasions, but she is sticking with her beliefs. We learned a few weeks ago, at an event I don't now remember, that she liked baked ziti (in tomato sauce) and I told her we could make it at home sometime. So, this week when I pulled out Amy Sedaris's I Like You (Hospitality Under the Influence) and discovered a baked ziti recipe I knew the time was right. Sedaris's irreverent look at entertaining is really funny, and includes some good recipes. The Pastitsio (meat pie) turned out to be a rather big project for a Monday after I had worked all day. This recipe is neither easy nor quick, and creates a lot of dishes to wash. When I was done my pasta pot, sauce pan, indespensible-cast-iron skillet, cheese grater, mortar and pestal, and several other dishes were all dirty. Alas, Paloma had not emptied the dishwasher before I started, so I was not able to do CAYG (Clean As You Go). If she had, I would have, and she would have had a much easier time with the dishes at the end.
Anyway, in addition to ziti, this dish calls for butter, eggs, parmesan cheese, nutmeg, red wine, parsley, ground beef (we substituted Morningstar soy crumble), onion, garlic, olive oil, tomato paste, broth, milk, flour, sugar, salt and pepper (I actually did not use those last three).
The sauce was made with the crumbles, onion, garlic, olive oil, tomato paste, parsley, broth and wine. I knew that James had recently bought a few bottles of inexpensive wine and put them in our wine rack, so I grabbed one and added the 1/2 cup called for. Shortly after, we both noticed a smell of chocolate in the kitchen, at which point James indicated that the bottle of wine I used was called COCO. Well, it was red in color. This is one of the reasons I skipped the sugar. The sauce turned out really good though. It did have a definite chocolate undertone, which we decided to call "Aztec flavor". Part of the cream sauce (made with butter, flour, milk, and nutmeg) was added to the meat sauce. The cooked ziti was mixed with egg, cheese and butter, and layered on the bottlom of a casserole dish. The meat sauce was added on top, followed by another layer of ziti, then the rest of the cream sauce. This was baked at 350 for 45 minutes. A yummy, rich dish, that tasted really good when paired with the COCO wine we used in it.