Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Spinach & Meatball Baked Ziti

Baked ziti is so yummy and easy to make, especially when you're short on time. I found this recipe on one of my favorite food blogs ~  I added beef meatballs to it, but I committed a mortal (Italian) sin, and used pre-cooked, frozen meatballs! I found a brand that we all really like and, since I didn't feel like making my own meatballs, I opted for the pre-made, frozen ones! You can also use turkey or chicken sausage if you prefer ... or use turkey instead of beef meatballs. Of course, you don't have to include meatballs, or sausage, if you don't want to. I also used fresh basil and oregano from my garden and I could really taste the difference!! However you decide to tweak it, it is a delicious dish.

Ingredients Needed:
  • 1 lb uncooked ziti
  • 28 oz crushed tomatoes (I used Tuttorosso)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 oz frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • 8 oz fat-free ricotta
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups (8 oz) shredded part-skim mozzarella
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • about 10-12 meatballs (either from scratch or pre-made/frozen) cut into halves (optional)
How to Make It:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with oil spray.

In a large pot of salted water, cook pasta according to instructions until al dente.  Drain and return to pot.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, add olive oil and sauté garlic. Add chopped spinach, salt pepper and crushed tomatoes. Season with basil, oregano, salt and pepper.

Add sauce to the pasta and combine the ziti. Add half of the mozzarella, Parmesan cheese and ricotta. Mix well then transfer to the baking pan.
Pour the pasta mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Top with the remaining mozzarella.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until mozzarella is melted and the edges are lightly browned. Let it cool 5 minutes, then enjoy!

This can be made up to a day in advance and stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.
Recipe from; Modified by Cooking Made Easy

No comments:

Post a Comment