Baked Beef Ziti: Makes 8 servings; 5 WW points per serving
- 12 oz uncooked ziti [I used 7 ounces of whole wheat rigatoni.]
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1/3 pound raw lean ground beef [I used one pound of ground beef at 7% fat.]
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried rosemary [I didn't have rosemary, so I used dried basil instead.]
- 1/2 tsp table salt [I didn't put in salt but I did add onion powder and garlic powder, as well as a few red pepper flakes for some bite.]
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded [I stuck to this amount for WW reasons, but if you aren't particularly calorie-conscious, I'd recommend using more, just to add to the cheesy goodness.]
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat; add garlic and sauté 2 minutes.
- Add beef and cook until browned, breaking up meat with a spoon as it cooks, about 3 to 5 minutes; drain off any fat and set pan back over medium heat.
- Add oregano, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper; stir to coat beef. Cook until herbs become fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Spoon a small amount of beef-tomato mixture into bottom of a 4-quart casserole dish (just enough to cover surface) [I didn't have a four-quart casserole dish, so I used a flatter baking dish, which made the layers feel a bit sparse, but it was still delicious]; top with half of cooked ziti.
- Next, layer with half of remaining beef-tomato sauce and half of mozzarella cheese. Layer with remaining ziti and then top with remaining beef-tomato sauce; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Bake until cheese is golden and bubbly, about 30 minutes.
The verdict: This was great, and also very simple to make. This version was definitely heavy on the beef, which I like personally, so I liked the proportions of beef and pasta; I think it worked a lot better than the initial amounts the recipe called for would have, and with the whole wheat pasta and very lean beef, the points work out to be about the same both ways. We will definitely be making this one again.