Here’s how it goes down; wife or I call each other and asks what he or she’d like for dinner. Pasta, she says. Like that asparagus, lemon and garlic one with the dried kale chips sprinkled on top, she says.

Already my mind is wrapped around a pasta she won’t expect, so given that I’ve been having such fun with baked eggs lately, well–is Baked Ziti Casserole far behind? With this simple dish, you boil your pasta, cook up ground beef, onion, and garlic in the skillet, and then add some tomato sauce (I simply had a couple of tomatoes and some tomato paste so…), a quarter cup of red wine (no red so sherry had to fill in), and a ladle of the pasta water.

Layer in a bowl (I used small ramekins for individual servings) with sliced mozzarella and Parmesan, and bake at 400 for 10 minutes till the cheese is melted and browned. For good measure, I added some panko crumbs on the top. If I’d had time and salad fixings, it would have been complete.

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Final result? Nice blend of textures in each biteful, but seriously lacking IMHO for seasoning. A quarter teaspoon each of dried basil, oregano, and pepper flakes simply didn’t bring the flavors home. I suspect, to take mild responsibility, that the sherry and the final melding of simmered flavors may have suffered from not enough time on my part. A dish with potential, of course, but time will tell.

If you want to give it a try, check out allrecipes.com over here.

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