beyond indulgent. I must confess, when I read the recipe I was a little skeert. The Husband and I are still working diligently on loosing weight and Allison’s Ziti has macadamia nut ricotta cheese and a cashew cream sauce. That’s on top of fire roasted tomato saucy pasta. We weigh in every Sunday morning, so I strategically planned the meal in order to maximize “recovery time” before our next weigh-in. By the by, see the bottom of this blog post for the results of this morning’s weigh-in.
While reading it, I also noted there are several steps to the recipe. In order to get the most out of my Sunday, I spilt the work up over the course of the day. I started soaking the nuts for the macadamia nut ricotta cheese just before lunch. I also threw the cashew cream sauce together while I was in the kitchen, because it’s a quick and easy food processor or blender job.
Come mid-afternoon, I hopped back in the kitchen and made the tomato sauce.
When it was time to get serious about dinner, I had the three main components prepared so all I needed to do was boil the pasta, throw it together and bake it. No problem! Sure, there were some extra dishes to be washed, but this meal is worth it. I assure you. Besides, The Husband did all the dishes tonight. ☺
While the ziti was baking, I made an Italian salad with baby spinach, some extra macadamia nut ricotta cheese, toasted pine nuts, fresh Roma tomatoes, and hearts of palm. I tossed it with Newman’s Own Lighten Up Italian Dressing, which next to a big pile of Za Za Ziti is kinda like having your donuts with a diet coke, but whatever. It was tasty and I didn’t have to make a dressing.
We sat down to eat and both The Husband and I were shocked at how luscious this dish is. Some of the little bits of pasta that were sticking up got all crispy and nummy while baking which was an awesome contrast to the creamy goodness beneath. It was a very quiet dinner. And you know the food is good when nobody’s talking!
My notes for this recipe are:
- I had to add a bit of extra water both to the cashew cream sauce and the macadamia nut ricotta cheese in order to get the proper texture and consistency. No problem there, just an FYI. These things happen particularly when you’re measuring things like nuts by volume rather than by weight.
- Next time, I’ll make extra cashew cream sauce because the pasta soaked up most of it. I’m sure that added to the flavor, but the sauce was so delicious on its own, I think the dish would be even better with a bit of it drizzled over the top after it comes out of the oven.
- Lastly, plan ahead. Like I said earlier, this is a multi-step recipe. You can’t wait ‘til late afternoon (when I usually start thinking about dinner) to start putting this baby together. It’s seems like a lot of work when you look at it, but if you break it up into manageable chunks, like I did, you’ll be fine.
As for our weigh-in this morning, we rocked it. We dominated Team Red with a Blue Team total loss of 6 pounds this week. The Husband lost 4 and I lost 2. Now it’ll be interesting to see if we can recover from Za Za Ziti and register another loss next weekend. But we were smart and offed the leftovers as soon as we were done eating. We ended up feeding a family of four omnis with what was left in the pan and got rave reviews. They couldn’t believe it didn’t have any dairy cheese.
Winner, winner, chickpea dinner! Now I'm going to roll myself onto the couch and bask in the afterglow of my temporary self-indulgence.