This dish is quick and delicious. Most of the ingredients can be prepared a day or two in advance, or all at once, whatever floats your boat. I forgot how much I love baked ziti – it’s very similar to lasagna. I used extra-lean ground beef in this recipe, but this can be easily put together vegetarian-style. Simply replace ground beef with soy ground meat, OR, replace it with a mixture of veggies. I was thinking shredded carrots and zucchini would be a delicious option for a veggie version. Even spinach and onion would taste amazing. And if you’re serving a large crowd, this recipe can be easily doubled.
You can double this recipe if you’re serving a larger crowd.
And to make this Vegetarian – replace regular ground beef with soy ground meat, or with vegetables.
1/2 a pound of dried, whole-wheat ziti pasta or tube pasta (I used whole-wheat penne pasta)
1/2 pound extra-lean ground beef
1 medium shallot, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
10 ounces of jarred spaghetti sauce
3/4 cup ricotta cheese (I used a low-fat version)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta according to package. Drain pasta and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large skillet over a medium-high heat, drizzle in a little bit of olive oil. Add minced garlic and shallots. Cook until translucent, then add ground beef. Cook beef until done. Add salt and ground pepper.
Pour tomato sauce and ricotta cheese into the cooked beef and stir ingredients together. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover for five minutes.
Next, stir in cooked pasta and remove from heat.
In an 8x8 (or similar size) baking dish, pour in half of the pasta mixture, topping with half of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Repeat with the second half of pasta and cheeses.
Place in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until cheese is melted and a golden brown.