Baked Ziti with Swiss Chard

baked ziti inside

This is a lighter version of the traditional baked ziti, which is usually loaded with cheese and sausage. As I don’t eat red meat anymore, I substituted ground turkey for the sausage. I made this during the Coronavirus shelter in place, using whatever I had in the kitchen. I only had 1/2 cup each of mozarella and parmesan and I substituted penne pasta for ziti. (Penne are narrower than ziti , have ridges and are cut at an angle, thus resembling a quill pen.) I added flavorful red chard to up the healthy lightness. It came out cheesy enough and we had enough for several meals.

red chard

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tb extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 oz. ground turkey (half of a pound package)
  • 1/2  onion, finely chopped
  • teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • A few shakes of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary needles, finely chopped
  • A few grinds black pepper
  • 14-ounce can crushed San Marzano tomatoes (they are the best, but if you can’t find them, use what you can)
  • 1 bunch red Swiss chard, rinsed thoroughly and chopped roughly, Chop the stems about 1/2 inch diameter.
  • 8 oz. ziti or penne pasta (1/2 box)
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions: Preheat oven to 350′

Heat olive oil in a medium-large pan until it shimmers. Add ground turkey and cook on high for a few minutes to brown the meat. Add onion, chard, and salt, cover and cook on low for 15 minutes until they are soft and the onions are translucent. Add garlic and seasonings and stir for a few minutes. Stir in tomatoes and cook on low for another 15 minutes. You can make the sauce ahead of time.

While sauce is cooking, boil a medium-large covered pot of salted water. Stir in the pasta, and cook uncovered for 10 minutes, until it is al dente. Add 2 tablespoons of pasta water to the sauce. The starch in the water will help emulsify the sauce. Drain pasta, then stir the pasta and the sauce together in the large pot.

Oil a casserole dish. Add a third of the pasta mix, then top with 1/4 cup of the combined cheeses. Repeat with the next layer. After you add the last layer of pasta, sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.

Bake in the middle rack of the oven for 20 minutes. Turn  the broiler on high and broil for 5 minutes until the cheese is a golden brown. It is even better the next day after the flavors meld.

baked ziti

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Linguine with Prawns

linguine with prawns December 31 2017I made this on New Year’s eve and served it with a glass of white wine. Happy New Year!

Serves 3 -4

Ingredients:

12 shrimp (26/30 per pound size)

1 1/4 cups water

1 Tb olive oil

1 onion, chopped fine

1 large bell pepper, chopped

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp sugar

28 oz can crushed tomatoes

8 oz can tomato sauce

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

several grinds black pepper

3/4 tsp salt, to taste

8 oz bottle clam juice

1/4 cup chardonnay or other dry white wine

14 oz can artichoke hearts in water

4 cups baby spinach

To cook linguine:

8 – 10 oz linguine pasta (depending on how hungry your guests are)

1 gallon boiling water

Garnish:

3 Tb pine nuts (approximately)

2 Tb minced parsley

3 Tb finely grated Parmesan

Directions:

Defrost shrimp if using frozen shrimp.

Bring 1 1/4 cups water to boil in a small pot. Peel shrimp and add shells to the boiling water. Let cook for 15 minutes.

While shells are cooking, boil 1 gallon water in a large pot and add 1 tsp salt.

Dice onion, bell peppers and thinly slice garlic. Heat oil in a heavy pot and stir fry the onions and bell peppers until soft. Stir in sugar, garlic, oregano and basil.

Add tomatoes and tomato sauce. Strain shrimp-shell broth into the larger tomato can and swish it around to get all the tomato juices out, then pour into the smaller can and do the same, and then add to the pot. Stir in clam juice, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer while you finish preparing the other ingredients, about 10-15 minutes.

Slice the artichoke hearts into quarters and add to the sauce. Stir in the shrimp.

Stir in the linguine to the boiling water, and boil uncovered according to package directions (usually 9 minutes).

Wash and mince the parsley and wash the baby spinach.  Stir in the white wine and baby spinach to the sauce. Drain the linguine and place on each plate. Spoon sauce over the linguine. Garnish with parsley, Parmesan and pine nuts. Mange!