Thursday, January 23, 2014

Baked Ziti with Turkey and Spinach

Y'all, it was 0 degrees this morning, and I'm really not ok with that. This kind of weather makes me never want to leave our house. I want to wear nothing but sweats and fuzzy socks and cook nothing but hearty, warming food. This Baked Ziti, hot out of the oven, really does the trick (and there's enough spinach thrown in to make it feel good for you). And as with most pasta dishes, it's pretty versatile. Try swapping ground beef, prosciutto, or mushrooms for the turkey. Arugula or swiss chard would be great stand-ins for the spinach. Mix in a little fontina with the mozzarella if you want to get really crazy. Just stay in your warm kitchen, and don't leave the house. It's cold out there!
(based on The Kitchn's Lasagna-Style Baked Ziti)

Serves 4-6

Ingredients
12 ounces ziti
1 Tb olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb ground turkey
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (or less, according to your preference)
1 tsp Italian herbs (optional)
salt and black pepper
1 24-oz jar marinara sauce
3/4 bag spinach (about 4 cups)
1/2 cup ricotta
2/3 cup grated parmesan
1 cup grated mozzarella

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400F.

Bring a pot of salted water to boil, and cook the pasta until it's al dente, according to the package directions. 

While the pasta cooks, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, and let cook for about 30 seconds, or until fragrant.

Add the turkey to the skillet, breaking up the meat with your wooden spoon, and cook until it’s no longer pink, 5 to 6 minutes. Sprinkle in the crushed red pepper and Italian herbs. Stir and cook for another 30 seconds or so.

When the pasta is done, drain it, reserving about 1/4 cup of the pasta water, and return it to the pot.

Toss the pasta with the meat mixture, marinara sauce, spinach, ricotta, and 1/3 cup of the parmesan. Stir to combine, and allow the spinach to wilt.

Transfer to a greased 9x13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and the remaining parmesan, and bake 12 to 15 minutes, until it's warm and bubbly and the cheese is melted.

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