You know what, after making this pasta dish I may never make traditional spaghetti or lasagna again. There have been a few variations of this recipe floating around Pinterest lately so I've been fiddling and "healthatizing" it over the past few weeks until I was happy, and boy am I happy! I love that there are so many vegetables mixed right into this dish (hmm...a red pepper might be a nice addition too - maybe I'm not entirely done fiddling after all) and my husband was thrilled with the addition of mushrooms. My fiddling and additions did expand the recipe so that it has trouble fitting in a standard 13x9 casserole dish anymore, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, it can be viewed as a good thing because it means that you can actually make two meals out of this one recipe by just freezing half.
Lasagna Baked Ziti
- 1 box Barilla PLUS Multigrain penne
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 8 ounce container fresh sliced mushrooms
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- Italian seasonings to taste
- 1 29 ounce can tomato sauce
- 2 14.5 ounce cans stewed tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
- 1 bag spinach
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet or dutch oven. Saute the onion and mushrooms until soft (about 4-5 minutes), then add the garlic and cook about 1 minute more.
- Add the beef and brown, breaking up the meat, until it is cooked through. Drain any liquids and add your choice of Italian seasonings to taste.
- Add the sauce, stewed tomatoes, and spinach to the meat and stir until well mixed.
- Once the pasta is cooked, drain the water and pour the pasta back into the pot. Stir the ricotta and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese into the pasta until well coated, then mix in the sauce mixture.
- Divide the pasta evenly between 2 8x8 or 9x9 casserole dishes. Sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese and remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
- Place one casserole dish in the oven and bake until the pasta is hot all the way through and cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.
- Cover the second casserole dish tightly with foil, label it with the name and baking instructions, and place in the freezer for another night. (Be sure to pull it out of the freezer the night before you want to cook it so it has time to thaw.)