Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Lasagna-Style Baked Ziti

Two years ago, I could not get enough of swiss chard. I was thrilled with every bunch we received and would trade it for it in the trade box. Last year, I was sad because insect pests made the swiss chard crop smaller. I thought I would be totally thrilled with getting swiss chard this year, in November, no less.

I wasn't. I haven't figure out why. I was thrilled to have this recipe though, that didn't accentuate the taste of the chard, at least until I can get used to it again. Everyone liked this recipe, even I had some ground up tastes. I served leftovers to our neighbor kids (who were 3 and 1 1/2) and they also both liked it. This was an easy recipe to make, the most time consuming parts were sauteing the meat (which you could leave out, if you desire) and grating the cheese.

Lasagna-Style Baked Ziti
adapted from The Kitchn at Apartment Therapy

12 oz penne
1 T olive oil
1 lg onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb lean ground beef or Italian bulk sausage
4 c marinara/pasta sauce (1 26-oz jar)
4 c spinach or swiss chard, thick stems removed and coarsely chopped
1/2 c ricotta
1/2 c Parmesan, grated
1 c mozzarella, grated

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and put into a 9 x 13" pan. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, about 4 - 5 minutes. Add the meat and cook until it's no longer pink, 5 - 6 minutes, breaking up large chunks. If using swiss chard, put with the meat and cook until the chard wilts. Toss the pasta with meat and chard, marinara sauce, spinach (if not using chard), ricotta, and 1/4 c Parmesan in the baking dish. Sprinkle with mozzarella and remaining Parmesan. Bake in a preheated 400 degrees oven until the cheese melts, 12 - 15 minutes.

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