Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Baked Ziti with Summer Vegetables

I love baked ziti. What's not to love about creamy, cheesy pasta? But as I've said before, we are trying to eat healthier these days. That's easy to do in the summer when fresh vegetables are plentiful. This Baked Ziti with Summer Vegetables was part of the recent Noodle Swap and as soon as I saw it I added it to my weekly menu.

I'll admit, SP was disappointed that (1) this wasn't traditional baked ziti and (2) that it didn't have a tomato-based sauce. Even so, he grudgingly admitted it wasn't half bad. He cracked a joke about how there was no meat in his portion and he'd have to take that up with management, but he cleaned his plate and went back for a small second helping so it couldn't have been too bad.

I, on the other hand, loved this. The bright, fresh veggies made me feel less guilty about eating creamy, cheesy pasta. Unfortunately my yellow squash had gone bad by the time I got around to making this, but the addition of some chopped mushrooms worked well. I opted for canned diced tomatoes instead of fresh because I can't stand loose skin on tomatoes. I also doubled the recipe so we'd have enough for leftovers. Even Baby Girl enjoyed this, although she picked around most of the veggies. Oh well. She loves peas and corn, so that's something. She did take a bite of raw zucchini as I was prepping this, so she'll get there eventually. The pasta, however, she downed by the handful. I added some grated pecorino cheese on top, which added a nice, salty kick.

This is a great way to showcase some of the summer produce that's available right now.

Baked Ziti with Summer Vegetables
Slightly Modified from Cooking Light, as seen on Cooking for Fun

4 ounces uncooked ziti
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow squash, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
4 large mushrooms, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup (2 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
1/2 chopped grated Pecorino cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Preheat oven to 400°.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan. Add squash, zucchini, onion and mushrooms; sauté 5 minutes. Add tomato and garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in pasta, 1/2 cup mozzarella, herbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper.

Combine ricotta, remaining salt, and egg. Stir into pasta mixture. Spoon into an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and pecorino.

Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until bubbly and browned.
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  1. I love this recipe. I've made it several times, with different vegetables, and it's always delicious.

    1. I can't wait to try other veggies with it. What have you used?


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