The other night I was having a couple beers with my friend Rachel when she mentioned that she would be making ziti, and asked if I wanted one. I enthusiastically said yes, for several reasons: 1) I love free food, 2) Rachel is an outstanding cook, and 3) I love ziti. I'm not a big pasta eater, I have always found it relatively boring, but a baked ziti, with sausage and peppers and lots of cheese, is outstanding.
I was at the store a couple days ago when Rachel called me and said she had just dropped off the ziti in my fridge. I thanked her and headed home, expecting to find a small dish, wondering if it would be big enough for both Elizabeth and me to eat for dinner. That was not a problem - the container was about 12 inches square and weighed at least ten pounds.
I took it out of the fridge and let it sit for a couple hours to warm up a little. I preheated the oven to 400 degrees and let it bake for a little over an hour. Elizabeth wanted some bread to go with it so we went to Vons and got a loaf of french bread - the freshest bread I have ever seen at a supermarket, by the way; it was still warm - while the ziti sat in the oven. We got home, cut up some bread, and spooned out the ziti.
It was probably the best I have ever had. Everything was perfect. The large pieces of tomato, one of my least favorite things, were so tender that I ate them and didn't think twice. Our friend Tracie came by to have Elizabeth try on a sweater she is knitting, and I gave her some, too. I called my brother to see if he was in the area and wanted some ziti. I considered wandering the neighborhood just giving away plates so other people could experience it, too.
The next morning I had some for breakfast and it was just as good.