This is my second recipe review from the PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES COOKBOOK.
Okay I am going to be up front and honest as I usually try to be. Prior to tonight I have never had baked ziti. I have heard of it and seen it on menus but have never actually had it, let alone make it. As of the time of this writing there is 21:30 left for the Ross Gload ziti to finish cooking.
You remember Ross Gload. He's the right fielder for the Philadelphia Phillies whose stellar post season performance sky-rocketed the Phils past those pesky San Francisco Giants and onto a third straight world series.............OR NOT!
I am not sure whether or not to blame Mr. Gload himself or the editors of the cook book for what I am about to complain about though. I am leaning more towards the editors as they should have picked up on it prior to it going to printing...
First of all, to give you a bit of background on me, I am a police officer and a field training officer (FTO). That means that I get to train the new guys fresh out of the police academy. One of my responsibilities is to ensure that their (the trainee) crime reports are thorough, grammatically correct, and contain all elements of whatever crime the bad guy is being charged with (think all of the ingredients...).
There is a reason behind this. When a juror reads over a police report he/she needs to ensure that the suspect actually committed all of the elements of whatever crime he/she is being charged with, otherwise the crime is not complete. Similarly, when I open up a cook book it is because I am NOT a professional chef and need the information required to complete the recipe (crime) that I want to stuff my face with.
Uh oh....the timer just went off! I will devour the said recipe and continue this review.........
Okay so back to business (on a full belly now, and slightly intoxicated). My main gripe so far is that Mr. Gload forgets to tell you what the crap to do with the 2 pounds of ricotta cheese he tells you to buy. As I said before I have never had ziti so how am I supposed to know what to do with it? Luckily for me the wife unit told me to mix the mozzarella cheese (a whole pound of it) with the ricotta. I don't know if this is what you're supposed to do with it but it made sense to me coming from somebody that makes pretty good lasagna. It just didn't look right though.
So anyhow, I took the advice of the wife unit and continued to follow the rest of the directions that were in the book. That is when the next problem came in. The directions tell you to layer the sauce and mozzarella and never mention where the noodles come into play. Well there was not enough of the cheese mixture to do that so I decided to just mix EVERYTHING together and put it in the large baking pan that the recipe calls for.
When the ziti came out of the oven it did not look as appetizing as I remember Carmela Soprano's looking but after taking a bite out of the ziti I was quite happy that Mr. Gload seems to be better at cooking than he is at playing baseball.
I have another issue with this recipe though. Certain recipes tell you to add certain ingredients (salt, oregano, cumin etc...) to taste. Well, unless you made the recipe before it is difficult to know how much to add because many recipes you simply can't do so because it is still raw. This is one of them. While the ziti was not bad by any means, I think it needs just a tad bit more of a tomato sauce flavor to it. I guess I'll just have to experiment with it a little more next time. I am not sure whether this is due to the fact it contains three whole pounds of cheese, or not enough tomato/spaghetti sauce. I would definitely eat it again but in my opinion it needs a bit of tweaking.