Monday, May 14, 2012

Baked Ziti With Spinach

I’m always looking for ways to get more veggies into our diet, and this dish is deceptively packed with them. The trick I use with most Italian-style recipes is to finely chop vegetables with my food processor and then sauté them with the meat. An almost effortless way to get in your five a day! To boost the nutritional value even more, I added fresh spinach. This dish isn’t low fat by any means, but it really is a good balance. Enjoy!

Baked Ziti With Spinach
1 onion, cut into chunks
3 carrots, cut into chunks
2 celery ribs, cut into chunks
1 zucchini, cut into chunks
3 garlic cloves
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 lb. lean ground beef
3/4 lb. fresh Italian sausage, casings removed
2 (15-oz.) cans diced tomatoes
2 tsp. dried basil
2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 (6-oz.) bag baby spinach
12 oz. ziti, cooked
1 (15-oz.) part-skim ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend

1. Sauté onion and next 4 ingredients in hot oil 10 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Stir in ground beef and sausage. Cook, stirring often, until meat is cooked and crumbled. Stir in tomatoes and next 4 ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in spinach, and cook 5 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in ziti.
2. Pour half of meat mixture into a 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Spread ricotta and 1/2 cup cheese over top of meat mixture. Pour the remaining meat mixture over ricotta mixture. Top with remaining 1 1/2 cups cheese. Cover with foil.
3. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake 5 more minutes. Serve immediately.

No comments: