Happy first day of June! I’m so glad it’s finally getting warm here. I love summer!
This baked ziti was the second thing that Jen and I cooked during our cooking extravaganza. I love baked pasta dishes, because they’re always so easy to make and they freeze and reheat really well. This one was a little bit different than the baked ziti I always make, because it calls for adding some fresh basil (always a good thing!) and ricotta cheese. I will definitely be making it sometime soon!
That’s me! Mixing spaghetti sauce into the cooked ground turkey.
Mmmm, look at that fresh basil and garlic!
(And wine and Wheat Thins…hey, we can’t have hungry cooks!)
Jen and I with the finished product!
This recipe is really easy to customize to fit your own tastes. You can use ground beef or turkey and you can add more or less cheese and fresh herbs. Instead of using plain tomato sauce, we used spaghetti sauce, which will bump up the flavor quite a bit. My favorite is Prego Fresh Mushroom, but you can use whatever kind you like. Instead of using shredded mozzarella cheese, Jen ended up buying a few balls of fresh mozzarella. We cut it up into chunks and mixed about half into the pasta mixture and then sprinkled the rest on top right before baking. I actually liked this better, because then there’s little pockets of cheese inside the pasta, along with the nice little blobs of it on top.
Makes: One 13×9 inch pan (about 8 servings)
Adapted from: Foodfit.com
1/2 lb. ziti pasta
4 tsp. olive oil
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 1/2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. ground turkey
2 c. tomato sauce (or spaghetti sauce)
1/3 c. fresh basil, chopped
1 c. ricotta cheese
2/3 c. grated mozzarella cheese
1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until just shy of being done (you want them to be still slightly chewy in the middle), about 8-10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2) Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and saute until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for one minute more.
3) Add the ground turkey to the skillet with the onion and garlic, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until turkey is completely cooked through. Drain off any excess fat.
4) Add the tomato sauce to the skillet and mix until combined. Heat over low heat until bubbly, about 5 minutes.
5) In a large bowl, mix together the turkey mixture, pasta, basil and ricotta cheese. Spoon mixture into a greased 13×9 inch pan.
6) Sprinkle the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese evenly over the pasta mixture.
7) Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and browned and the mixture is heated through.