Garden Baked Ziti

Garden Baked Zitiphoto

This recipe makes two batches of ziti- one for tonight’s dinner & one for freezing.

Cooking spray

1 lb. whole wheat ziti

2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

1 c. finely chopped yellow onion

1/2 c. chopped red bell pepper

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 (28 oz) can of crushed tomatoes

1/2 c. water

1 1/2 tsp. salt, divided

2 c. ricotta cheese

1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed & well drained

1/2 c. Parmesan cheese

1 medium zucchini, grated

1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

freshly ground pepper to taste

1.Preheat oven to 375. Lightly coat two 8″x8″ baking pans with cooking spray.
2. In a large pot over high heat, cook the ziti in boiling water until tender. Drain and return to the pot. 3. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over med-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper. Reduce heat to med-low and saute until soft, about 8 min. Add the garlic and saute for 2 min. Add the crushed tomatoes, water, and 1 tsp. salt. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 min.
4. Add the tomato sauce to the ziti, along with the ricotta, spinach, Parmesan, zucchini, and 1/2 tsp salt. Stir to combine.
5. Divide the pasta between the two prepared pans. Top with mozzarella. Add freshly ground pepper to taste.
6. Bake for 20 min. or until cheese is lightly golden. Let it sit for 5 minutes before serving.

To freeze: Complete ziti preparation through step 5. Cover with aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months. To cook, transfer covered frozen ziti directly from the freezer to 375 oven. Bake for 90 min. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 min. until golden.

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