Food Porn: Baked Ziti and Eight-Ball Zucchini Parmesan

There was a bumper crop of good stuff in the CSA box and at the farmer’s market this week (more about that later in a separate post), and I wanted to make something that would use up a good portion of the stuff we got. At the same time, I was having a heck of a craving for Italian, and wanted something a little different than usual.

We started with a couple of salads from Whole Foods, and for the main course, I chose to make Baked Ziti (modified from an old San Giorgio box recipe, along with a Cooking Light recipe I had been pleased with previously, Eight-Ball Zucchini Parmesan. The eight-ball zucchini may be more difficult to find, but is readily available at farmer’s markets this time of year. Regular or patty pan zucchini can be substituted if you can’t find the eight-ball variety. Recipes to follow for those who are interested.

Baked Ziti and Eight-Ball Zucchini Parmesan

Baked Ziti

1/2 lb. bulk sweet Italian turkey sausage
1/2 lb. bunk hot Italian turkey sausage
1 c. chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 c. (1 lb) eggplant, pared and cut into julienne strips
1/2 tsp. salt
Dash pepper
1 lb. ziti
4 cups spaghetti sauce
3 cups (12 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Brown sausage meat in skillet; add onions, garlic, and eggplant. Saute until vegetables are tender and lightly browned; drain off exceess fat. Add salt and pepper; set aside.

Cook ziti according to package directions for 10 minutes; drain. Combine ziti with 3 cups sauce. Spread 1/2 c. sauce on bottom of 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Arrange half of ziti in pan; spoon eggplant mixture evenly over ziti; top with 1/2 c. sauce, half of the mozzarella, and 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese. Cover with the remaining ziti, and cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Serves 8 generous portions (like the one above), or 12 smaller portions.

Eight-Ball Zucchini Parmesan

1 (1-ounce) slice of French or Italian bread, torn into small pieces
4 large or 6 small eight-ball zucchini (~ 1 1/2 lbs)
1/2 c. packed spinach leaves
8 basil leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, peeled and quartered
3/4 tsp. olive oil
1 c. chopped plum (Roma) tomato
1 tsp. salt
1/4 c. (1 oz.) grated fresh Parmesan cheese (I used extra in the stuffing)

Preheat oven to 350. Place bread in a food processor; pulse ten times or until coarse crumbs measure 1 cup. Set aside.
Cut each zucchini in half lengthwise; scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/4 inch thick shell. Set pulp aside. Steam zucchini shells, covered, 6 minutes or until tender. Drain, cut sides down, on several layers of heavy-duty paper towels.

Place zucchini pulp in food processor; process until finely chopped. Spoon into a bowl. Place spinach, basil, garlic and onion into food processor; process until finely chopped.

Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add spinach mixture; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini pulp, tomato, and salt; cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in breadcrumbs.

Fill each zucchini half with about 2 1/2 tbsp. zucchini mixture (I filled mine according to the size of the zucchini half, some had more, some had less). Sprinkle evenly with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until cheese melts. Makes 6 servings (serving size 2 zucchini halves).

Nutrition Data: 67 cal, 2.2 g fat, 4 g pro, 3 mg chol, 87 mg calc, 316 mg sod, 2 g fiber, 0.8 mg iron, 9 g carb.

3 thoughts on “Food Porn: Baked Ziti and Eight-Ball Zucchini Parmesan

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