Is a big plate of hearty, delicious pasta ever a bad thing?
I think not!
While shopping the aisles the other day at the grocery store, Brad said, "Baked Ziti sure would be good for dinner soon." Baked Ziti? That DID sound yummy. And wouldn't you know it...We made our way to the pasta aisle and the boxes of Ziti Rigati were buy one get one free. It was pasta-fate...If there is such a thing.
To make the dish a little healthier, we decided ground turkey would be a good substitute for ground beef. I love cooking with ground turkey lately. It tastes great and is indeed a much healthier option. That's a no-brainer, if you ask me.
This dish comes together in no time. I added bell pepper, onion and mushrooms to the turkey as it cooked. These veggies added a nice, fresh flavor. As for the marinara sauce, just use your favorite brand. I happened to buy Barilla. Or, if you're feeling extra ambitious, you can even make your own.
Baked Ziti is wonderful because it's great the next night for left-overs. I simply add a few tablespoons of water to a large saucepan, add however much pasta I need, and slowly reheat, with the lid on and stirring often. I hear it also freezes well, too.
Before going into the oven...
Baked Ziti with Turkey, Mushrooms & Bell Pepper
Source: My original recipe
1 lb. ziti rigati pasta
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lb ground turkey
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
8 oz. white mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp. garlic powder
24 oz. jar marinara sauce
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shreddedSalt & Pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously, and drizzle with 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Add the pasta, reducing the heat to medium-high and cook until al dente, tender but still slightly firm. Drain.
Drizzle the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil into the bottom of a second large pot or dutch oven. Add the turkey and cook for 5 minutes. Next, add the bell pepper, onion, mushrooms and garlic powder. Continue to cook, stirring often, until turkey is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Add the marinara sauce to the turkey mixture and stir well. Next, add the pasta to the sauce and stir once more until well combined.
Transfer the pasta to a greased 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella over the top. Cover and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 5-10 minutes, or until lightly browned and hot.
Serve immediately and enjoy!