Thursday, May 2, 2013

Ziti it Up

I actually enjoy bake ziti, yet I don't really like the idea of it. I'm not sure why. I think it's partly because I don't ever remember my mom making it, so it isn't really a comfort food to me. It just isn't something I ever think about making, which is why I was so surprised when I found a recipe for baked ziti that I really wanted to make. I discovered the recipe on Chits and Giggles although it's originality from Weight Watchers. It isn't the traditional version you're used to, but I think that's why it spoke to me. My interpretation of this non-traditional baked ziti is below!

Baked Ziti with Peas and Peppers
Baked Ziti
12 oz uncooked ziti pasta
1 medium uncooked onion, chopped
3/4 lb lean ground beef
1 medium green pepper, chopped
2-3 slices of roasted red, chopped
10 oz frozen green peas, thawed
4 Tbsp canned tomato paste
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp fennel seed
1/2 cajun seasoning, to taste
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
14 oz canned diced tomatoes

1. Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Cook the pasta according to the package directions until al dente.
2. Meanwhile, Cook the onion until softened.
(The boy will say I should have added to green pepper here, but I like it better with just a little crunch.)
3. Add in ground meat. Cook until browned.
4. Add in green bell pepper. Cook until mostly softened.
5. Add the tomato paste, oregano, basil, thyme, fennel, and cajun seasoning. Bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and cook uncovered 5 minutes.
(At this point you could also add in the diced tomatoes. Except the boy refuses to eat whole pieces of tomatoes, so I made sure there was no trace of them on his half. If you actually compare my ingredients to the original, I halved the amount of diced tomatoes, yet doubled the amount of paste to compensate.)
6. Add in cooked pasta and half of the cheese.
7. Add half of the mixture to a 9x13 inch baking dish. Mix diced tomatoes into the second half of the pasta and to second half baking dish.
(Or if you're normal add the entire mix which already included diced tomatoes to the baking dish.)
8. Top with remaining cheese. (While the boy did miss out on the extra tomatoes, he made up for it with all the extra cheese. This way his half is extra cheesy, while mine a normal amount.)
9. Bake until the cheese has melted and dish is bubbling, about 20 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before eating.

I wound up really enjoying this meal. The boy? Well, at least he appreciated it. I think he may have liked it better if there was tomato sauce instead of paste. He also claimed it needed more cheese, except did you see the amount of cheese on his half. I at least think it was a success, and would definitely enjoy making this again.

Are you a baked ziti person? And have you ever manipulated a recipe so that way it made in different ways based on each person's preference?


  1. I used to love my mom's baked ziti as a kid! Now being dairy free and gluten free it is possible, but not as easy. I do miss it and like the sound of peas in it!

  2. I wasn't raised on baked ziti either, and I never think to make it, but I like it. I am going to have to try to track down some gf ziti (or just use some other shape) and make this!! I love pastas with peas in them!

  3. Ooh I am so excited that you tried that recipe and liked it! It was really good. I want to make that was pretty tasty!

    1. I definitely want to make it again as well! And thanks so much for introducing it to me.

  4. oh man,that looks so good! i love me some baked pasta!!

  5. Yum! If that isn't comfort food, I don't know what is. I'm a big fan of peas in pasta--they really add a lot to the dish.