The month of January has several family birthdays in it. My late mother-in-law was born January 3rd, my birthday is the 23rd and my son's birthday is the 27th. This past Sunday I had my family for dinner. I decided to prepare baked ziti with mushrooms, peppers and parmesan. The recipe appeared in the January 1998 issue of Gourmet Magazine.
The sauce for the pasta is made with pureed yellow peppers, an onion and a few garlic cloves. The sauce also has 1-1/2 cups of heavy cream and 1 cup of the pasta water. This yields a creamy sauce that doesn't taste overly rich. The dish also has sautéed red and orange peppers, sliced mushrooms and the green part of scallions. When all the elements are combined together, you get a wonderful blend of pasta and vegetables that is both delicious, slightly creamy, but doesn't make you feel guilty eating it. This appealing pasta dish serves 8 to 10 people.
It does take a bit of time to prepare this meal. You'll need a covered sauté pan to first prepare the yellow pepper sauce; then using the same pan you'll sauté the red and orange peppers and mushrooms. Either an immersion blender or blender to puree the vegetables. A separage 8 quart pot will be needed to cook the ziti. I think it took about 45 minutes for me to prep and cook this casserole today, but well worth it. I also served meatballs, made earlier in the week, with fresh tomato sauce (made at the end of the summer and frozen) on the side as suggested in the magazine.
Dessert was Williams-Sonoma red velvet molten center cakes which is prepared in white ramekins. I'll admit I've been sitting on this box mix for a few years, but it was still good. The red velvet cakes were scrumptious. Everyone loved the warm mini cake that served with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. Currently Williams-Sonoma has molten chocolate cake mix available. It's rather pricey at $25.95. I purchased the red velvet flavor at discount of 75% off. As I said before, it pays to cruise through W-S to check out their sales, which may be dispersed around the store.
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A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.