I was provided with a gift kit of Redpack Tomatoes to facilitate this recipe and giveaway. The recipe, photography, and my opinions are my own.
Baked ziti (or baked penne pasta) is a fabulous comfort food, and great for these absolutely freezing winter days we have been having, but it's usually loaded with calories and fat from ground beef and Italian pork sausage. Not going to work for the low-fat, low-cholesterol diet we have been (mostly) following since my husbands heart attack in December. Here is my lightened up, healthier, yet still delicious and indulgent version.
Baked Penne Pasta
I chose to make baked penne pasta instead of ziti simply because I couldn't find a whole wheat, or whole grain, or any type of "healthier" ziti when I looked at the grocery store, but I was able to find it in penne pasta. They are pretty much interchangeable anyway. I replaced traditional Italian sausage with Italian turkey sausage, and ground beef with lean ground pork, and used low-fat cheeses. I have to say, it was just as delicious as the traditional, and my husband loved it, which is most important!
Before I get to the recipe, let me tell you about a little giveaway going on over on Red Gold Tomatoes Facebook Page, and a little giveaway I'm hosting myself. On Facebook, 1000 followers a week over 3 weeks are going to receive a branded apron, and a grand prize winner will receive a pasta stock pot, pasta-related serveware and Redpack products. Meanwhile, I am giving away a kit containing 1 28-oz can of Redpack crushed tomatoes, 1 28-oz can of whole peeled tomatoes, 1 28-oz can of diced, 1 6-oz can of tomato paste, plus recipes from Redpack. What a great giveaway for the Italian food lovers! Read on after the recipe for the giveaway entry form.
Recipe adapted from Redpack Baked Ziti. This recipe makes a lot, I mean like A LOT, so it would be great for a large party. If you have a baking dish larger than 9 x 13, I recommend using it. I used a 9 x 13, and the pan was almost overflowing. You could also use two baking dishes.
- 16 ounces organic whole wheat penne with milled flax seed or your favorite penne or ziti)
- 1 pound bulk mild Italian turkey sausage
- 1 pound ground pork
- 28 ounce can Redpack crushed tomatoes
- 28 ounce can Redpack diced tomatoes
- 16 ounces reduced fat mozzarella cheese ,freshly shredded
- 15 ounces low-fat ricotta cheese
- ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 yellow onion ,chopped
- 3 garlic cloves ,minced
- 2 egg whites
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- black pepper ,to taste
- chopped parsley for garnish
- cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Fill a large pot with water, bring to a boil.
- Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium/high heat. Add turkey sausage and ground pork, breaking up the meat with a large spoon. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until the meat is browned, drain excess fat.
- Add garlic, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, basil, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes, stir. Let simmer while you cook the pasta. Cook the pasta for 1 minute less than recommended time on the box.
- In a large bowl, combine ricotta cheese, 1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese, egg whites, and black pepper. Stir well, add the pasta and half of the sauce, stir to combine.
- Spray a 9 x 13 glass baking dish with cooking spray. Add the mixed pasta, Remaining sauce, and top with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbling. Sprinkle with parsley and serve hot.
The giveaway info! Open to US residents. I will contact the winner by email within 24 hours of the end of the contest, and the winner will have 48 hours to respond, or another winner will be chosen. Giveaway prize will be sent by Redpack.