Thursday, May 23, 2013

garden fresh baked ziti

Here's a perfect and quick summer recipe that I recently found that the whole family will enjoy. I've made this a couple times now and our family is really enjoying it - even Georgia. It's packed full of fresh veggies that you'll be able to get at your local produce stand, farmers market or maybe even your own garden this time of year. The BEST part is that it makes two batches of ziti - one for dinner and one for freezing. 

1 pound whole wheat ziti
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained (next time I may try fresh, cooked spinach)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 medium zucchini, grated
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375. Spray two 8 by 8 inch baking pans with cooking spray.
2. In large pot cook the ziti. Drain and return to pot.
3. Heat the olive oil in large pan over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper. Reduce to low and saute' until soft. Add garlic and saute' for a few more minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, water and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to simmer and cook 20 minutes. 
4. Add tomato sauce to ziti, along with ricotta cheese, spinach , Parmesan, zucchini and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir all ingredients. 
5. Divide the past between the two pans. Top with mozzarella and add pepper to taste. 
6. Bake for 20 minutes. 

To Freeze: Complete the process thru step 5. Cover with foil and freeze for up to 3 months. To cook: transfer frozen ziti directly from freezer to oven and back for 90 minutes at 375. Remove foil and bake for 15 more minutes. 

It's delicious! I was shocked that Georgia would eat it, but that's probably because it is smothered in cheese. Oh well, it is the only way I can get her to eat most vegetables. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. This is awesome. I chopped a bag of fresh spinach and added to the sauce for the last 5 minutes of simmering. Thanks for sharing!