Food plays such an important role in the American TV drama The Sopranos that a special Sopranos cookery book was published. The dish that probably appears most often in the series is baked ziti. In one of the first episodes – and one of the most famous scenes – we learn how important it is for the family. "What? No fuckin' ziti?" exclaims Tony's son Anthony Jr. when he hears that his grandmother is sick and therefore can't come to his birthday party. From then on, appearances of the pasta dish thread like a trail of blood through the six seasons of the TV series.
For the sauce
Ingredients (Serves 4)
For the casserole
Ingredients (Serves 4)
- For the sauce, heat the butter in a saucepan and fry the chopped garlic briefly in it. Add the tomatoes and crush them with a wooden spoon. Simmer for about 20 minutes until the sauce has thickened a little.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pan of heavily salted water to the boil and cook the pasta in it until it is still very al dente, about 2 minutes shorter than stated on the packet. Drain and set aside.
- For the casserole, butter an ovenproof casserole dish well. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Mix the cooked pasta with two thirds of the tomato sauce and half of the grated cheeses.
- Put half of the pasta mixture in the casserole, then spread the ricotta, mozzarella and half of the remaining cheese on top. Cover with the remaining pasta, then spread the rest of the tomato sauce on top.
- Cover the casserole with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake for a further 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes before serving.
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