I know I have a lot of catching up to do with Shavuos recipes, which I will get to soon I hope. However, I wanted to share my dinner that I made for tonight, this twist on classic baked ziti. I happen to not like ziti shape- I prefer smaller cut pasta, so I'll make this dish with any short-cut pasta and it comes out great every time. It's lighter than my macaroni & cheese, but just as good and comforting. Last week I bought a great huge bunch of basil from the fruit & vegetable store, and after washing and drying all the leaves, I decided to use most of it to make and freeze pesto in small containers (see pesto recipe for pesto chicken through link). You can freeze sauces and pesto in baby food containers or ice cube trays. Pesto freezes great! As I mentioned in the mac&cheese post, the only pasta I love and buy is Barilla Plus- I highly recommend you make the switch from boring old white pasta! You won't regret it! This was also a good opportunity for me to showcase Natural & Kosher's shredded cheese- I used 2 kinds here- 1. chef's blend, which is shredded mozzarella+cheddar 2. pizza cheese, which is basically shredded mozzarella
This recipe proves that you don't need a lot of ingredients on hand to make a great satisfying dinner without feeling so guilty afterwards. I literally have nothing in my fridge since we're going away for a week tomorrow. Pasta from the pantry, pesto & cheese from the freezer (shredded cheese freezes so great). Ta da!
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
-1 box Barilla Plus penne, cooked according to packaged directions- don't overcook. Make sure to salt the water because it's the only chance to really season the pasta throughout.
-1 cup marinara sauce (I don't like it so saucy but add more if you do)
-3 tbsp. pesto
-1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
-1 1/2 cups shredded cheese of choice
-1 (16 oz.) container ricotta
-Combine all the ingredients in a bowl with the pasta, and season with some salt. I find that this recipe makes 2 round tins. Sprinkle the top with more cheese, and spray so that it doesn't burn. Bake covered for 25 minutes and uncovered for 10-15.
-This time, I decided to make it in 2 individual large muffin tins so that I wouldn't have leftovers to go to waste, one for me, one for Avi [read: portion control!!!]. I also had enough to freeze 1 round tin full, and 2 other individual muffin tins (I don't know what else to call the tin. It's like an extra large muffin, I use them for making challah rolls!- see the picture)
-Sprinkle with chopped parsley and garlic salt
For the side, I made a SIMPLE as can be edamame carrot salad with frozen preshelled edamamde (Trader Joe's) & chopped carrots (the only fresh produce I had left in my fridge!). I dressed it with lime juice, a tiny bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. So good and can't be easier or faster!
Put a spin on your baked ziti with the 3 cheese or pesto twist! Or both!
Enjoy. Forgive my week hiatus while I vacation!