With about 15 minutes of hands-on time this easy baked ziti is perfect for busy nights. When cooking the pasta, undercook it by 1 to 2 minutes. This way, when it is tossed with the other ingredients and baked the pasta won’t become mushy.
Makes approximately 4 servings
YOU WILL NEED
8 ounces dried pasta, such as ziti, penne, or rigatoni
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
8 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 2-quart baking dish or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, add the pasta then follow package directions, but cook 1 to 2 minutes less than the package calls for. Drain.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes over medium heat until the garlic turns light brown; about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes with juices, lemon zest, a 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and a pinch of pepper. Cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Taste the sauce for seasoning, and adjust with additional salt and pepper if necessary.
Toss the shrimp with 1 teaspoon of olive oil, a 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper.
In a large bowl, toss the drained pasta, tomato sauce, shrimp, ringed out spinach, and half of the feta cheese. Add to the baking dish then top with remaining feta cheese, breadcrumbs, and a drizzle of olive oil.
Bake the ziti, covered, until the shrimp are thoroughly cooked (they will become firm and opaque); about 15 minutes. Uncover, and then bake until the cheese and breadcrumbs begin to brown, about 10 minutes.
Cooked fresh spinach can be substituted for frozen. Cook about 1 pound of fresh spinach until wilted, squeeze out excess moisture and add to the filling.