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Cheesy Baked Ziti

Cheesy Baked ZitiRecipe courtesy of the National Pasta Association.

Recipe Ingredients:

1 pound ziti, rigatoni, mostaccioli or other medium pasta shape, uncooked
Vegetable oil cooking spray
1 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can low-sodium diced tomatoes, drained
1 (15-ounce) container low-fat ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese - divided use
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese - divided use
1/2 cup skim milk
1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil (or 1 tablespoon dried)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cooking Directions:

  1. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside in large bowl.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C).
  3. Spray a non-stick skillet with vegetable oil cooking spray. Heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 more minute. Remove from heat. Stir in tomatoes.
  4. Place ricotta cheese, 1 1/2 cups of the mozzarella cheese, 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and milk in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth.
  5. Add the tomato and cheese mixtures, parsley, basil and pepper to the cooked pasta. Toss well to combine.
  6. Spray a 2 1/2 to 3-quart baking dish (a 12x9x2-inch oblong dish works well) with vegetable spray. Spoon the pasta mixture into the dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheeses.
  7. Bake at 400°F (205°C) for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Makes 8 servings.

Recipe and photograph courtesy of the National Pasta Association.