Bangin' Baked Ziti


Enlightening Entrees!

10 ounces ziti or penne pasta (about 3 cups), freshly cooked
8 cups ready-to-use spinach leaves (about 2/3 of 10-ounce package)
6 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
1 1/2 cups Ricotta cheese
1 small diced onion
1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp dry basil
1 tsp dry oregano
1 tsp Cajun or blackening seasoning
½ cup Panko bread crumbs
Salt and Pepper to taste

Easy Tomato Sauce Recipe (Can substitute your favorite store bought sauce):
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, 1/4-inch dice
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1/2 medium carrot, finely grated
2 (28-oz) cans tomatoes
Salt and Pepper

For Sauce: In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until soft. Add the thyme, oregano/basil and carrot, and cook 5 minutes more. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal. Season with salt and pepper.

For Ziti: Preheat oven to 375° F. Lightly oil 13 x 9-inch glass baking dish. Boil pasta and set aside. Quickly sauté spinach leaves in a little olive oil (squeezing out excess water) and season with salt and pepper and set aside. Sauté onion and tomatoes and season with salt, pepper, Cajun spice, basil and oregano. Combine onion/tomato mixture with spinach and mix in ricotta, mozzarella and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese in large bowl. Stir in pasta, then the hot tomato sauce and transfer mixture to prepared baking dish. Combine bread crumbs and remaining 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese and then sprinkle over pasta. Bake until sauce bubbles, cheeses melt and bread crumbs brown, about 30 minutes. Remove, let rest for 2 minutes and serve.