For some reason “baked ziti” popped into my head today as I was peering into the fridge this afternoon.
I haven’t eaten baked ziti in years but as I was contemplating what to make for dinner, I saw staring back at me a container of cooked pasta (fusilli – not ziti – but close enough), cottage cheese and a package of ground turkey and decided to stick with my first instinct, since I had everything else I needed on hand.
Now there are dozens of ways to make baked ziti or baked pasta from simple to complex. You can make it in small amounts for an easy weeknight dinner or in large amounts for parties and potlucks. You can use sausage or ground beef or turkey or make it vegetarian and use whatever variety and combination of cheese you prefer.
In some recipes everything is stirred together and in others the pasta and sauce are layered like in lasagna. I’m not kidding when I say the options are endless.
I’m sure everyone has their favorite, but this simple easy version is based on what was available today in my kitchen. I guess it’ not even technically baked ziti, since I used fusilli, but its close enough to satisfy the craving.
Baked Ziti Recipe
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 1 hour
This is an easy versatile recipe. Feel free to substitute sausage for the ground beef or turkey (or leave it out for a vegetarian option.) You also can add extra vegetables. I like to saute chopped mushrooms and zucchini along with the onions. Spinach would be good as would peppers and olives.
8 ounces ziti or other short cut pasta, uncooked
1/2 pound extra lean ground beef or ground turkey
2 medium onions, chopped
3 cups spaghetti sauce
2 cups nonfat cottage cheese (pureed in a blender for a creamier result if desired)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Cook ziti according to package directions. Drain, and set aside.
>Meanwhile, crumble meat in a large skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray. Add onions. SautÃ© until meat is fully cooked. Add spaghetti sauce.
In large bowl, combine cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, parsley, and garlic powder. Mix thoroughly. Add cooked ziti and mix well.
Spread about 1/3 of the meat, onion, and spaghetti sauce mixture in bottom of prepared pan. Spoon ziti and cheese mixture into pan. Pour the remaining sauce mixture over the top. Sprinkle with a little more grated Parmesan if desired. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 30 minutes.
Yield: 6 servings
Nutritional Estimates Per Serving: 364 calories, 10.1 g fat, 42.8 g carbs, 3.7 g fat, 26.7 g protein and 9 WW PointsPlus Value
Simple Vegetarian Baked Ziti – Health for the Whole Self
Cook’s Illustrated Baked Ziti – adapted by Annie’s Eats
Baked Ziti with Pumpkin and Sausage - Very Best Baking
Easy Layered Baked Ziti – Martha Stewart