Vegetarian Baked Ziti

This is what I made with my fresh ricotta—I was looking for ease, savory ease. I used a jarred tomato sauce (the horror!) to keep things simple, but if you have the time consider replacing with the real stuff. Also, it might seem like you're using a lot of ricotta (you are), but once it bakes the pasta absorbs a lot of the liquid, and it can get dry if you don't use enough cheese!


1 box ziti or favorite tubular pasta
1 quantity Fresh Ricotta Cheese
1 15 oz bag frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 package baby bella mushrooms
1 egg, well beaten
2 jars pasta sauce (or about 4 cups of fresh sauce)
1 bag Italian cheese blend (I used Sargento), but you could grate your own. This is for the top, so a mixture of mozzarella and parm is essential

Cook pasta for about 7-8 minutes, draining when just tender (you want to leave it pretty al dente). Meanwhile, saute your mushrooms and remove excess water from spinach by squeezing with paper towels or cheesecloth (or your hand). Add spinach to mushrooms and mix thoroughly, removing from heat. Combine vegetables with, egg, ricotta and 1-1 1/2 cups sauce and mix until incorporated in a very large bowl. Add a lot of salt. You want it. Add pasta to bowl and toss thoroughly. Spray/oil a 9 X 13 inch baking dish, evenly distribute pasta mixture, cover with remaining sauce and top with shredded cheese. Bake, uncovered, in 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until cheese is browned.




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