I've discovered a new dish that I LOVE at my favorite Italian restaurant, BiBa's. It's called Baked Ziti Sicilian. It's a baked pasta dish with eggplant, mushrooms and a meat sauce. And topped with a beautiful marinara. With lots of cheese!
Well, I looked for recipes and couldn't find anything that was like the dish I've been ordering. So I decided to try to make it.
BAKED ROTINI SICILIAN
I forgot to buy mushrooms and ziti noodles. So I made it with whole wheat rotini that was in the pantry and added some spinach/kale in place of the mushrooms. :)
2 cans crushed tomatoes
1 packet of McCormick Thick and Zesty seasoning
1 pound ground beef
1 small eggplant
mushrooms (or any veggies you'd like)
Mozzarella cheese, grated
Parmesan cheese if desired
1 box pasta, cooked al dente
Brown the ground beef. I used 93% lean so there's nothing to drain. Add mushrooms and sauté until tender.
Add tomatoes. Stir in seasoning packet and let simmer.
I stirred in greens until wilted (as a replacement for mushrooms).
While sauce is simmering, slice the eggplant as thinly as possible. I ended up wishing I had either pre-cooked the eggplant or had baked the dish longer. I think next time, I'll just cube the eggplant and sauté it until nearly tender. Or I might just cook it with the sauce.
Grease a baking dish. Layer in the ingredients. I started with sauce, then added eggplant, then noodles, then cheese.
Keep layering until the pan is full. Just be sure to end with sauce followed by cheese.
My baking dish was too shallow so I put it on a cookie sheet to prevent disaster. :) Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.
This turned out so tasty. And I even made dessert!! (A rarity.) While the pasta was baking, I chopped some strawberries.
I did a rough chop and added some sugar to help pull the juices out.
Then I crushed and chopped with my pastry cutter. Let sit at room temp for a while to make the yummy juice that will soak into the shortcake or pound cake or angel food cake. This time, I served the berries over pound cake I bought at the grocery store.
It was a fabulous dinner!
Wait! Something is missing! And I happened to have some Cool Whip in the freezer. :)