Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Casual Baked Ziti



I just packed my lunch for tomorrow's work-day, tidied up the kitchen, and set up some green tea to steep so that a nice big pitcher of iced-green tea will await Zach tomorrow morning. Now, I aught to be folding laundry or perhaps amending last nights sleep deficit (going to bed at midnight and getting up at 4:30 AM was not especially wise), but instead I want to share a recipe with y'all...

I also want to tell you how delicious niacin is, I really do (after all, two of the foods high in niacin are peanut butter and potatoes - how yummy is that?! :-), but first, tonight, I must seize the inspiration found only in marinara and Parmesan, and share with you a pan full of humble, cozy baked ziti...

First, an apology to authenticity, and to my wonderful, oft-mentioned friend Kathleen, who I freely and happily admit makes a much grander baked ziti than I. My baked ziti uses ground turkey or tofu, for goodness sakes - hardly "proper." There's only a sprinkling of Parmesan, so you could, hypothetically, fix baked ziti every night (not that you would necessarily wish to do so...), without feeling guilty about it. There are olives tossed into the mix, and tonight I fixed the recipe with penne pasta instead of ziti because I couldn't find whole wheat ziti at the grocery on my drive home, and while I suppose this means I should call the end result "Baked Penne" it just didn't seem to have the same jaunty tone...

So, while tonight's "baked ziti" wasn't quite the baked ziti of culinary history, the somewhat nontraditional combination made us so happy that I just had to share the experience...

All together, whole wheat pasta, diced olives, salty Parmesan, and plenty of gooey mozzarella can be just the thing to welcome you home...



A Casual Baked Ziti

14 oz whole wheat ziti or penne
1 lb ground turkey OR 1 lb firm tofu, cut into 1/2" cubes
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups of your favorite marinara sauce recipe (feel free to use the homemade sauce you have in the freezer, or your favorite store-bought sauce, or a fresh batch you just made in celebration of a leisurely Sunday...)
2 cups shredded low-fat mozzarella, divided
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, divided
1/4 tsp hot sauce
1/4 cup minced green or black olives
1/4 cup diced green bell pepper

~ Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 13X9" baking pan with cooking spray.
~ Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain, and set aside.
~ Coat a medium skillet with cooking spray, and saute the ground turkey or tofu, along with the garlic, until the turkey or tofu is lightly browned.
~ In a large bowl, stir together the pasta, turkey or tofu mixture, marinara sauce, 1 cup mozarella, 1/4 cup Parmesan, hot sauce, olives, and green pepper.
~ Pour the pasta mixture into the baking pan, and top with the remaining 1 cup mozarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan.
~ Bake for 30 minutes - until the cheese on top is just beginning to brown a wee bit.
~ Serve deliciously gooey and warm...

(Turning into the driveway after a long day at my incredible new job, I am, as always, ever-thankful that I get to come home to my guy and our kitties...)






7 comments:

Sweta said...

The ziti sounds good as is-what a perfect dinner after a busy day!!
Love the cats :)

Gita's Kitchen said...

It looks so comforting....perfect dinner after a hard day :)

Jamie said...

Look at these adorable and well-fed gatos - love it! And your ziti looks and sounds amazing -- I especially love that you add olives and tofu -- yummy!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Ziti, penne, it does even matter ... just save me some! I love that you've used the whole wheat pasta and ground turkey here - right up my alley. Yum!

Aw, such sweet pics of your sweeties too. Nice!

stephchows said...

Love the healthed up version!!! Nothing to feel bad about! And what cute cats :)

Ricki said...

Sounds wonderful. And those kitties are toooooo cute!

Johanna said...

congratulations on your new job - and how lovely to come home to those cute pussy cats - plus yummy pasta and sweet guy! All you need is sleep now but you can't have everything I guess :-)