I’m always surprised when I hear people say that vegetarian food isn’t filling or satisfying. I guess if your image of a meatless meal is a plate of steamed zucchini, carrots and broccoli, well then, you would indeed probably be hungry after that in an hour or so.
But how about those sumptuous dishes, some of them even our favorite, so-called comfort foods? Like Macaroni and Cheese or Chili?
Baked Ziti (or Penne) with Cheese is among my favorite no-meat dinners. Add a salad and we’re done. Or, if I am feeling ambitious, we’ll start with Minestrone Soup.
Baked Ziti and Cheese
1 pound dried ziti or penne
15-16 ounces ricotta cheese
2 to 2-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano (or a mixture of the two)
2 large eggs
3 cups Marinara sauce
pinch or two of crushed red pepper, optional
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil a 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish. Cook the pasta in boiling water for 8-10 minutes or until al dente. Drain the pasta and place it in a large bowl. In another bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese and the eggs. Mix thoroughly, add to the pasta and toss the ingredients. Add the Marinara sauce and a pinch or two of crushed red pepper, if desired, and toss again until the color is even. Place the mixture in the oiled baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining cup (or 1-1/2 cups) of mozzarella cheese on top. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake for about 25 minutes or until hot, bubbly and lightly browned. Makes 6-8 servings