An Irish Mother’s Baked Ziti
For my dearest darling son:
No wisdom is conventional when it comes to baking a ziti or living your life. And no bit of advice can help you through the process. Baking a ziti is a lot like making love to whatever it is you enjoy making love to. What should be simple and natural often involves quite a bit of roleplaying, doesn’t it? This is not to say that the voluntary celibate are exempt from baking a fine ziti — in fact some of the fattest sexually incapable people I know continually bake the most lovely zitis.
As you’ve clearly displayed all your life, there are many forms of depression. When I’m dead-and-gone I want you to please remember that all varieties of deep implacable sadness can be drastically (if but for a few fleeting stuffed hours) distracted by ingesting an entire pan of ziti in a dark still room. This is because properly cheesed, a ziti possesses the rare type of anti-kinetic energy which forces the body to quiet the mind. Ideally speaking your ziti once consumed, will render your oh-so painfully perceptive consciousness into a coma-like state, while simultaneously stupefying the flow of your arteries to such an extent that the sensation of death will become palpable. Happiness.
To put this phenomenon another way: you know, my sweet boy, how you wake in the morning disappointed that you’ve not drifted off to death the night before? Of course you do precious! You call it your natural feeling. Well sometimes it can help to put an entire pan of ziti inside yourself, especially from within the comforting structure of your favorite still dark room. Mother loves you.
Now a bit of historical fact for my inquisitive good boy. The curative properties of baked ziti were first discovered by those dirty, lying, and overly emotional italian people. Who have remarkably since the time of Christopher Columbo’s great accident proven to history that you don’t need a soul to flounder upon momentous discovery. No soul required for greatness in this strange beautiful world! Let that be a lesson.
Now let’s get to ingredients (the quality of which will depend on how much of your adequate inheritance you’ve managed to squander, by this your time of ziti need):
1 pound dry ziti
1 pound fresh mozzarella, cubed
1 pound sheep’s milk ricotta
6 oz. Pecorino Romano, grated
Olive oil, extra virgin, just like you but tastier
The sauce, recipe to follow.
1 stick of butter
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 28 oz. tin of San Marzano tomatoes, whole with juice.
3 nice cloves of garlic, smashed
Salt, sugar, red pepper, to taste
Time to cook you sad miserable pudgy manboy!
Combine all The Sauce ingredients into a pot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring every once in awhile. Once you’ve achieved a nice simmer (good boy!) reduce the heat to low and allow The Sauce at least an hour to come together sweetly, stirring here and there. Taste and season accordingly. Don’t be shy.
- Note: Sometimes you’ll slice into a bad onion, but don’t sweat it! Onions unlike the state of your relationships, are not your fault. Here’s what I recommend, simply slice open a new onion and hope hard for the best.
- Note cont’d: Now if you discover a second consecutive onion rotted, that certainly is a reflection upon your character, and quite a poor one. And you ought to think deeply on it. Have you let yourself become a wretched dolt? Mother certainly hopes not.
Meanwhile salt the heck out of a pot of boiling water. And add the dry ziti.
- Note: A lot of folks over boil their ziti prior to baking, when it will still do a tremendous amount of cooking inside the saucy cheesy loving pan. This is the single biggest god damn shame. Do not be like most folks. Strain that ziti while the crunch exceeds the standard of italian toothiness.
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Allow both The Sauce and pasta a bit of time to cool before mixing together with egg, abundance of cheeses (save for a quarter of the mozzarella), salt and pepper in a substantial bowl.
Employ an unreasonable amount of butter to thoroughly grease a 9 x 13 pan. Add the cheese, sauce, ziti mixture. Top with remaining mozzarella. Hit with salt and pepper. Lastly, drizzle with olive oil, for beautiful gooey browning. Pop into oven, and cook until it looks molten and right.
Now don’t you dig in right away, immediately, like you’ve got the gluttonous depressive tendency to do. A baked ziti, like all living things, needs rest. Instead take some time to set the mood. Close the blinds and dim the lights. Take your pants off, you wont need them any further. Find a nice spot on the couch or in your bed. Maybe lay a towel down, if on the off chance, your deep sadness has not yet given way to pure tomato stain apathy.
Pretty soon you’ll struggle to. Embrace what you’re about to do to yourself. Which is to eat an entire pan of baked ziti in a still dark room. Which is, my darling boy, to find peace.
Love eternally, there is no shame, and use a big spoon.