Updated July 21, 2014
I am a sucker for gooey, cheesy pasta. Greg is, too. I probably wouldn’t complain one bit if the rest of my life was spent eating said pasta. I pretty much live on carbs, anyway. Unfortunately, gooey cheesy pasta can be high in calories and fat.
Not to fear!
I found this baked ziti recipe via Weight Watchers a while back and it never fails me. The best part is that it’s actually not bad for you. And it is pretty darn tasty, I might add. There is just something about baked ziti that exudes comfort food. It is good any day of the year!
12 oz uncooked ziti
2 tsp olive oil
2 cloves (medium) garlic cloves, minced
1/3 pound(s) raw lean ground beef
1 tsp dried oregano
tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
1 cup (shredded) part-skim mozzarella cheese
– Preheat oven to 350°F.
– Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside
– Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat; add garlic and sauté 2 minutes. Add beef and cook until browned, breaking up meat with a spoon as it cooks, about 3 to 5 minutes; drain off any fat and set pan back over medium heat.
– Add oregano, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper; stir to coat beef. Cook until herbs become fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
– Spoon a small amount of beef-tomato mixture into bottom of a 4-quart casserole dish (just enough to cover surface); top with half of cooked ziti. Next, layer with half of remaining beef-tomato sauce and half of mozzarella cheese. Layer with remaining ziti and then top with remaining beef-tomato sauce; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake until cheese is golden and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Slice into 8 pieces and serve. Yields 1 piece per serving.
Meg O.’s Notes:
– I season the beef after it’s browned and I also season the crushed tomatoes with the spices again, along with sea salt and cracked black pepper.
– Sometimes I get a little cray cray and add in fresh basil leaves here and there. Or maybe a dash of wine to the sauce.
– I usually use the 93/7 ground beef, but I also have used ground turkey before with success.
– My casserole dish is a 2 quart Corningware round dish, and the recipe fits perfectly in there. I actually think it’s prettier round.
– This recipe can really be altered to your tastes/likings. Have fresh mozzarella? Use it! Don’t want meat at all? Forget it and use some fun summer squashes!
Lord knows I’ll need some more of this comfort food as the school year begins.
What’s your comfort food? Are you a gooey pasta kind of person?