Baked Ziti with Summer Vegetables
Did any of you ever watch Last Of The Summer Wine? It was a wildly popular sitcom on BBC, lasting 27 years if my math is right. We used to watch it every Saturday night on our PBS station. Tonight I thought about that show as I cooked the "last of the summer squash." (Doesn't quite have the same ring as "last of the summer wine," does it?) The last of the yellow squash. The last of the zucchini. Both of these vegetables are readily available at the grocery store, but this was the last from our garden.
I have been hanging on to this recipe for a few weeks now. And last night I knew if I didn't make it right then, I would have missed my chance if I wanted to use our garden produce. I found the original recipe online from Cooking Light.
Well, mine isn't quite as "light" as the original but I think it still qualifies as healthy. I upped the amount of pasta and cheese—but only a little. I just knew that Daddy-O would be happier with a little more of the good stuff.
I did ask him if I had sufficiently hidden the yellow squash. He really doesn't like yellow squash. He said he could still see it. I meant could he taste it. When he went back for a big second helping, I knew I had succeeded. He did suggest that it might be even better with some crumbled bacon added to it. I won't argue with that. Maybe next time.
This is such a lovely light pasta dish. Very unlike the heavier meaty pasta recipe I posted yesterday. (Which is also wonderful.) We will for sure make this one again. Even if I buy the vegetables at the store.
BAKED ZITI WITH SUMMER VEGETABLES
5 oz. uncooked ziti (that's about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow squash
1 cup chopped zucchini
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cups chopped tomato
1 teaspoon jarred minced garlic
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Saute squash, zucchini, and onion in olive oil for 5 minutes. Add tomato and garlic and saute 3 minutes more.
Remove from heat and stir in pasta, 1/2 cup mozzarella, basil and oregano, 1/2 tsp, salt and pepper.
Combine ricotta, egg and 1/4 tsp. salt. Stir into pasta mixture.
Spoon into 9x9-inch baking dish which has been sprayed with PAM. Top with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, or until bubbly and brown.
Makes 4 servings.
We only had fresh cantaloupe (also from our garden) on the side. It was a perfect light summer supper.
I used Ronzoni Ziti No. 2 pasta. I did weigh my pasta and then measured it so that I could give you the amount in cups. I know not everyone has a scale. I have found a kitchen scale is a tool that I use often.
I had a couple of garden tomatoes, but I used grape tomatoes from the store this time. They were so easy to cut into quarters. I'm saving the big tomatoes for BLTs today.
I really think fresh herbs are the way to go in this recipe. And I was able to find them at the grocery store in my very small town. So you likely can find some, too. But if you don't have fresh herbs, the rule of thumb is 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs = 1 teaspoon dried herbs. (There are 3 teaspoon in 1 tablespoon.)