when you're having friends over for dinner the night before they run a half-marathon, there's only one thing you can serve them: pasta with a side of carbs. i had picked up some delicious fresh spelt ziti at our local farmer's market in the morning, and just needed to find a good pasta bake recipe in which to use it. i found this pasta bake on utterly recipes and tweaked it (naturally) to create the beautiful display of carbs and cheese you see below.

baked ziti with basil

fresh basil leaves are vital in this dish -- it added something that a dash of dried stuff wouldn't. this feeds 4 people, 2 of them being hungry runners.


the particulars:

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 50g mushrooms, sliced
  • 10 vine tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • basil leaves, torn
  • 1 pack of spelt ziti
  • 2 small mounds of soft goat's cheese, sliced
  • 1/3 block of goat's cheddar, grated
  1. soften the onion and garlic in some olive oil.
  2. add the mushrooms, pepper, and tomatoes and fry for 10-15 minutes until softened. add the tomato paste and continue to simmer.
  3. preheat the oven to gas mark 4 (325F).
  4. boil the pasta per directions in another pan (about 15 minutes).
  5. place half the vegetables in the bottom of a large casserole dish. place half the pasta on top.
  6. add half the soft goat's cheese and half the basil on top of the pasta.
  7. repeat this until there are no ingredients left. top it with the grated goat's cheese and some freshly ground black pepper.
  8. place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes.

lesson learned: make more tomato sauce than you think you need. fresh tomatoes were nice, but sometimes it's just easier to use a can or two of chopped.