To be completely honest, I am not the biggest pasta eater. Generally if it isn’t fresh homemade pasta, it is not something that I would reach for. However, every once in awhile, especially on a cold night, I crave baked ziti full of oozey, gooey cheesy goodness. And surprisingly, with a few simple twists, you can make a delicious and completely diet friendly version of baked ziti bolognese. Serve with a green salad and it’s a perfect, quick, simple meal on a cold night.
Healthy Baked Ziti Bolognese
Serving Size: about 1 and 1/4 cup
Nutritional Info: 256.8 calories, 4.8 g of fat, 39.8 g of carbohydrates, 7.5 g of fiber 17.2 of protein
Weight Watchers® PointsPlus®: 7 *
1 lb of high fiber pasta (I like Ronzoni Smart Taste)
3/4 lb of ground beef, 95% lean
3 garlic cloves
1/2 diced onion
1 sprig fresh thyme
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 large diced zucchini
36 oz can of Italian crushed tomatoes (you could get away with just 28 oz but I like mine moist)
1 tsp red pepper flakes
8 oz container of fresh mozzerella pearls packed in water
1/2 cup parmesan
salt and pepper to taste (I like a lot of freshly ground pepper)
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and begin boiling the water for your pasta.
2. First, you need to make your bolognese sauce. Spray a large saute pan with cooking spray and brown the ground beef for about 5 minutes. Then add in the onion and garlic and continue to cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, zucchini, basil, fresh thyme sprig, salt, and pepper. Let simmer for ten minutes.
3. As the bolognese simmers, cook your pasta in salted boiling water until just al dente (about 7-8 minutes for most pasta). Drain pasta and set aside. Run cool water over it if the bolognese still needs to simmer to stop the pasta from cooking further.
4. Return the pasta to the pot and mix together with the bolognese sauce. Add in 1/2 of the mozzarella pearls, 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, red pepper, and additional salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
5. Pour into a large baking dish and sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese on top. Cook for 30 minutes until the cheese begins to brown and bubble. Serve immediately.
* PointsPlus® calculated by Slender Kitchen; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.
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