Sunday, August 28, 2011

Zucchini Baked Ziti

Zucchini baked right in. 
Adding zucchini to baked ziti is an easy way to add extra vegetables to a pasta dish. Of course the bonus is that it is yet another way to use up the overflowing garden zucchini. I am a pasta lover. I probably eat it at least twice a week, but really I could eat it like 4 to 6 times a week with no problem. There are just so many different combination of how to serve it. Plus it is easy to add any vegetables that you have on hand, just like this zucchini baked ziti.

Zucchini Baked Ziti
Changed from a magazine advertisement
1 bag of ziti pasta
1/2 pound of Italian sausage or ground hamburger 
1 medium zucchini, sliced thin and in half moons
1 glove garlic, minced
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce 
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, optional
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

In a large skillet, brown the hamburger or sausage (out of casing) over medium heat. When the meat is about half done, add the garlic and onions. 
In a large pot, cook the ziti pasta until just under al dente. 
Once the meat is completely cooked through, set aside on a plate covered with paper towels. In the same skillet, using the grease left in the pan, add the zucchini and cooked until just tender. Add in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper to the zucchinis in the skillet. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
Add back in the meat and stir until all is combined. Once tomato mixture is warm, combine in with the pasta in the pot. Stir in 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese into the mixture. Dump the entire mixture into a baking dish. Cover with the remaining cheese. If you like your pasta with a bit of a crunch on the edges, leave uncovered. Otherwise cover the dish with aluminum foil. Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes, until cheese is completely melted and there maybe a few bubbles in the tomato mixture. 

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