BAKED ZITI. I USED TO BABYSIT TWINS IN NEW YORK who ate two things for dinner: baked ziti and chicken nuggets, end of list. So I know kids love the stuff. The only thing is, it’s not that great for you. So I tried something. We combined spaghetti squash with whole wheat penne pasta, then threw in the usual suspects. It was healthy, gooey and I’ll tell you what, delicious.
Here’s how you can make it too.
Baked Pasta with Spaghetti Squash
- 2 cups spaghetti squash pulp (about 1/2 of a large squash), cooked
- 1/2 box whole wheat penne
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 3 cups spaghetti sauce, or 1 jar of your favorite kind
- 1 teaspoon dried basil or 2 teaspoons fresh, chopped
- 1 /2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- salt & pepper
Prepare the spaghetti squash: Heat the oven to 375. Prick the squash all over with a fork then set in a baking pan. Cook for 1 hour. When it’s cooled, cut lengthwise then use a fork to scoop out/fluff up the squash.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta. Add half a box of penne to a large pot of boiling water, add salt and cook for 5 minutes. Drain. Return pasta to pot then add spaghetti sauce, squash, herbs and mozzarella then stir.
Now, assemble and bake. Lower the oven to 350. Butter a large casserole pan. Add pasta and sauce mixture, then drop in ricotta by the large spoonful, distributing throughout the pan. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top and drizzle oil over it. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for 35 minutes until gold and bubbly.
Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving. The pasta will cool and firm up a bit too.