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best vegetarian baked ziti



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Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total: 55 minutes

Servings: 12


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Step 1

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Step 2

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When ready, add the pasta and cook to al dante according to package. When ready, drain pasta but save about 1/2 cup cooking water.

Step 3

While the pasta is cooking , cook the vegetables. In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add onions and cook for 3 minutes or so, tossing regularly, then add diced zucchini, bell pepper, and garlic. Raise heat to medium-high and cook for about 6 to 8 minutes, tossing regularly, until vegetables have softened and cooked through. Season with kosher salt, oregano and paprika. Sit aside till needed.

Step 4

In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, 1/4 cup grated Paremsan and 3 tbsp Mozzarella. Mix well. (If needed, add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to help mix the cheese)

Step 5

Once the pasta has been cooked and drained, bring it back to the cooking pot. Add 1/2 of the marinara sauce and starchy cooking water you reserved (1/2 cup). Mix well to coat the pasta with the sauce. Fold in the ricotta cheese filling. Mix again to combine, but leave some big "pockets" of the cheese mixture.

Step 6

Grab a 9 1/2" x 13" casserole dish. Pour a little marinara sauce to the bottom of the dish, spread.  Spread half the pasta. Now add the cooked vegetables and some of the torn basil on top and spread well across the pasta layer. Sprinkle a little bit of shredded mozzarella on top (leave more mozzarella for very top layer.) Add remaining pasta. Spread remaining marinara sauce on top and add remaining mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.

Step 7

Place the casserole dish on the middle rack of your heated oven. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or so. Remove from heat and let rest about 10 to 15 minutes before cutting through. garnish with fresh basil.

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