Spinach and a blend of three cheeses shine in this family-friendly casserole.
1 pound ziti
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound lean ground beef
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh oregano (optional)
1 26-ounce jar pasta sauce
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmesan
1 15-ounce container ricotta
1 10-ounce box frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove liquid
1 cup grated mozzarella
How to Make It
Cook the ziti according to the package instructions.
Heat oven to 400° F.
In a large pot, over medium-low heat, heat the oil. Add the onion, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook until the onion is softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the beef, increase heat to medium-high, and cook until no trace of pink remains, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain any remaining liquid. Add the garlic and oregano (if using) and cook for 2 minutes. Add the pasta sauce and heat for 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the cooked pasta and toss to coat. Add the Parmesan, ricotta, and spinach and toss again. Spread the mixture into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or individual ramekins and sprinkle with the mozzarella. Bake until the mozzarella melts, about 15 minutes.
Tip: If you prefer, substitute Italian sausage for the ground beef and chopped broccoli for the spinach.
To Freeze: Assemble (but do not bake) the casserole. Cover tightly with two layers of aluminum foil. Store for up to 3 months.
To Reheat: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or thaw partially in the microwave. Cover and heat in a 350° F oven for 1 hour. Uncover and heat until the mozzarella melts, about 10 minutes more.
This has potential, but next time I make it I will definitely be making some alterations. As is, I thought the recipe was lacking flavor and too dry. First of all, it makes a TON and in my opinion, too much pasta and not enough sauce. Next time I will add either tomato sauce or a can of diced tomatoes plus additional spices and maybe a pepper with the onion. I will also consider splitting this into two casserole dishes, cooking one and freezing the other.
I just used this recipe because it was so simple and fast... i did a little tweaking and added green pepper amd mushroom....its scent is sweeping across the house, while in the oven. Im so excited to feast :-)
This is a great recipe. I almost always make it vegetarian, I simply leave the meat out completely, you don't miss it. I like to serve extra sauce on the side. Highly recommend. (I do add more mozzarella than 1 cups, probably more like 2 cups, 1 in the recipe with the ricotta, parmesan and spinach and 1 on top.)
The servings were so big, neither my husband nor I could finish. We each left half on the plate. After seeing the calories, we felt better about that decision. This would definitely easily feed 8 people.
I mixed 93/10 ground beef and Hot Italian Sausage. Also I used 1 TBSP of dried oregano. Also I used part-skim ricotta.
We had with a side of sauteed zucchini and onions.
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