Baked Ziti Goes Vegetarian
- For Roasted Vegetables:
- 1 Medium head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
- 1 Red bell pepper, cut into 1″ squares
- 1 Medium yellow onion, sliced into wedges about ½″ wide
- 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- ¼ Teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
- For Everything Else:
- 8 Ounces ziti, rigatoni or penne pasta
- 4 Cups (32 ounces) store-bought marinara sauce divided
- ¼ Cup chopped fresh basil, plus extra for garnish
- 8 Ounces (2 packed cups) grated part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
- 2 Cups (16 oz) ricotta cheese, divided
- Red bell pepper
- Yellow onion
- Fine sea salt
- Marinara sauce
- Part-skim mozzarella cheese
- Ricotta cheese
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- To roast the veggies: Preheat the oven to 425° with racks in the middle and upper third of the oven. Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Place the cauliflower florets on one pan. On the other pan, combine the bell peppers and onion. Drizzle half of the olive oil over one pan, and the other half over the other pan. Sprinkle the salt over the two pans. Gently toss until the vegetables on each pan are lightly coated in oil.
- Arrange the vegetables in an even layer. Bake until the vegetables are tender and caramelized on the edges, about 30 to 35 minutes, tossing the veggies and swapping their rack positions halfway.
- Leave the oven on at 425°.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta just until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and return the pasta to the pot.
- Add 2 cups of the marinara, the chopped basil, and ½ cup of the mozzarella to the pasta. Gently stir to combine.
- It’s assembly time! Spread 1 cup of additional marinara sauce inside a 9×13″ baker. Top with half of the pasta mixture, and gently spread it into an even layer. Evenly sprinkle the roasted cauliflower on top, then dollop 1 cup of the ricotta cheese over the cauliflower (it doesn’t need to be spread into an even layer), followed by ½ cup of the mozzarella.
- Top the mozzarella with the remaining pasta. Then sprinkle the roasted peppers and onion on top, dollop the remaining cup of ricotta on top, then dollop the remaining cup of marinara on that, then sprinkle the remaining cheese all over.
- Place a clean, rimmed baking sheet on the lower oven rack to catch any drippings. Place the ziti, uncovered, on top of the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, then transfer to the upper rack for 2 to 5 more minutes until the cheese is golden.
- Remove the baker from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle freshly torn basil on top and serve.