Vegetarian Baked Ziti Casserole

Staff Writer
Vegetarian Baked Ziti Casserole
Vegetarian Baked Ziti Casserole
Will Budiaman

Vegetarian Baked Ziti Casserole

Growing up, my mom didn't cook very many American foods; mostly we stuck to traditional Indonesian dishes. However, she had a particular fondness for casserole, for whatever reason. So when it was casserole night, we always ate the same casserole — a mix of leftover sandwich meat from the school week, usually Oscar Mayer ham, chopped up Kraft singles, diced chicken breast, and elbow macaroni all held together by some sort of creamy concoction I could never readily identify. It was then baked in the oven until all of the elbow macaroni on top turned crunchy and the sides burnt.

I am not happy to say it, but I have to say it — my mother is a wonderful cook and despite having gone to culinary school, I still have no clue how to make many of the traditional dishes she made in my childhood, but casserole night was a night I dreaded. I understood its purpose as a catch-all for anything left in the refrigerator, but I didn't understand why it couldn’t taste better.

Thus, since I started running Recipe SWAT Team, I knew that one week, I would have to confront this challenge: to make a casserole that I would be thrilled to eat. Here's what I came up with.

Click here to see Casserole Recipe Redux

8
Servings
720
Calories Per Serving
Deliver Ingredients

Ingredients

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 Pound ziti
  • One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 Cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 Pound fresh ricotta, crumbled
  • 1 Pound fresh, salted mozzarella, diced finely
  • 1 1/2 Cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/2 Cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta, cook according to the package directions, and drain.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position a rack in the middle of the oven.

Spread a layer of crushed tomato on the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and scatter a handful of parsley over it. Scatter a sparse layer of pasta on top, followed by a layer of the cheeses. Top with additional tomato sauce and parsley, some olive oil, and then a sparse layer of pasta on top.

Repeat until all of the ingredients are used, but make sure the last layer is mostly sauce and cheese, unless you like lots of crunchy pasta on top. (Feel free to dump and stir, but I prefer to layer like a lasagna.)

Place in the oven on the middle rack, and bake until the cheese is melted and the top is browned, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and serve.

Vegetarian Shopping Tip

Look for vegetables that are firm and bright in color – avoid those that are wilted or have wrinkled skins, which are signs of age.

Vegetarian Cooking Tip

Different vegetables have different cooking times – cook each type separately and then combine.

Nutritional Facts

Total Fat
40g
62%
Sugar
7g
N/A
Saturated Fat
18g
89%
Cholesterol
88mg
29%
Protein
36g
72%
Carbs
55g
18%
Vitamin A
272µg
30%
Vitamin B12
2µg
29%
Vitamin B6
0.3mg
15.3%
Vitamin C
24mg
40%
Vitamin D
0.4µg
0.1%
Vitamin E
4mg
18%
Vitamin K
202µg
100%
Calcium
720mg
72%
Fiber
4g
17%
Folate (food)
53µg
N/A
Folate equivalent (total)
53µg
13%
Iron
4mg
20%
Magnesium
84mg
21%
Monounsaturated
17g
N/A
Niacin (B3)
3mg
13%
Phosphorus
584mg
83%
Polyunsaturated
3g
N/A
Potassium
614mg
18%
Riboflavin (B2)
0.4mg
25.9%
Sodium
889mg
37%
Thiamin (B1)
0.2mg
11.3%
Zinc
4mg
27%