Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sasha's Kitchen: Baked Ziti with Turkey Meatballs

I love baked ziti. Not the healthiest thing out there, but all that sauce, pasta and cheese - what's not to love? It takes a bit of time to put everything together, but its a great comfort meal that usually produces galores of leftovers.  I had recently received some great organic pastas to try from ShopRite for free as a ShopRite Potluck blogger, so I decided to use the one pound bag of delicious penne to make this baked ziti. The result was delicious and the pasta was just perfect for this recipe.  The turkey meatballs are a wonderful addition that lend flavor to this dish. 

Baked Ziti with Turkey Meatballs (adapted from this recipe from Epicurious)

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted, cooled, and chopped
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves (preferably flat-leafed)
  • 1 large egg, beaten lightly
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb ziti or penne
  • 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese (about six oz)
1 cup grated romano cheese
about six cups of tomato sauce (store bought, or make your own, like I did)
15 oz ricotta cheese

In a bowl, combine the pecorino/romano and mozzarella and set aside.  In a pot of salted water, make the pasta, al dente.  To make the meatballs, mix the ground turkey with the garlic, bread crumbs, onion, pine nuts, parsley and egg until combined with your hands and form 1 inch meatballs.  Instead of cooking them in oil, I baked them for about 40 minutes at 350 until cooked through.

Preheat the oven to 350 and spray a 3-4 quart gratin or lasagna dish.  Then, spoon about 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce and half of meatballs into prepared dish and spoon half of pasta on top. Spread half remaining sauce and half cheese mixture over pasta. Top with remaining meatballs and drop dollops of ricotta over meatballs. Spread remaining pasta over ricotta and top with remaining sauce and remaining cheese mixture. Bake the ziti for about 30 minutes until golden and serve hot. 


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