With all the baking I’ve been posting about over the last few month it seems like I haven’t been doing much cooking. It’s a fair to say that is an accurate view. I just haven’t been feeling up to cooking – not even the simplest things. I could blame it on the heat. I could blame it on the fact that I’ve been sick almost non stop this entire year and have no energy, or that I haven’t been inspired. In reality it’s likely a combination of a multitude of things.
Something always pulls me out of the slump though and I dive right back in and start cooking again. What did it this time? This recipe. This Lasagna Style Baked Ziti recipe has the potential to become a staple in my house. It’s super easy to put together AND easily portioned and frozen for later meals. Plus it’s adjustable. Want to use Italian sausage instead of ground beef? Go ahead. Don’t like spinach? Try some chopped broccoli or even cauliflower.
Doesn’t it look yummy? Because I intended to freeze these immediately for later meals I didn’t top them off as the recipe will state. After thawing them out I will finish take the last steps of covering with cheese and baking.
As for serving portions. I ended up using 16 oz of pasta (a full bag) and ended up with at least two extra servings so technically this recipe could feed up to 6 or even 8 people depending on your portion sizes. (I don’t have 6 ramekins – I, uh, ate what was left for lunch…yeah, I ate all of it.)
Lasagna Style Baked Ziti
12 oz ziti (about 4 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 pound lean ground beef
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 26-ounce jar marinara sauce
1 bunch spinach, thick stems removed (about 4 cups)
1/2 cup ricotta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (2 ounces)
1 cup grated mozzarella (4 ounces)
Heat oven to 400 degree Fahrenheit. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain pasta and return it to the pot.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion & garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, 4-5 minutes. Add the beef, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp of pepper and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon until it’s no longer pink., 5-6 minutes.
Toss the pasta with the meat mixture, marinara sauce, spinach, ricotta, and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan.
Transfer to a 9×13-inch baking dish OR 4 large ramekins. Sprinkle with Mozzarella and remaining Parmesan and bake until cheese melts, 12 -15 minutes.