I know it's about 100 degrees in most of the country but if you're like me, your love for pasta doesn't disappear when the temperature rises. I have no shortage of recipes for chilled pasta salads to enjoy during the summer months but sometimes you just want warm, cheesy pasta. Weather be damned!
This Ziti with Summer Vegetables from Cooking Light was the perfect answer to my summer pasta craving. It's filled with delicious veggies like zucchini, tomatoes, and squash, so it still feels seasonally appropriate. I added sun dried tomato chicken sausage because I had some in the fridge but I think it would have been just as great without. (Brian would probably disagree. If I'm going to serve him a big bowl of veggies, it helps to throw in a bit of sausage too.)
I played with the recipe a bit to accommodate what I had on had, so I'll include my adapted recipe below. You can access the original recipe through the Pinterest link below the picture. I also doubled the recipe posted below, made two 8x8 dishes, and stuck one in the freezer.
Ziti with Summer Vegetables
adapted from Cooking Light
1/2 lb chicken sausage*
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped zucchini
1 cup chopped yellow squash
1/2 white onion, chopped
1/2 can crushed tomatoes (I had these on hand, original recipe called for fresh)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 cup (2 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1. Cook ziti to al dente and drain. (Don't over-cook. The pasta will cook further in the oven and mushy pasta is no bueno.)
2. Preheat oven to 400°.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown chicken sausage until cooked through. Set aside. In the same pan, add olive oil, squash, zucchini, garlic and onion; sauté 4 minutes. Add tomatoes; cook 2 more minutes until sauce is warmed through. Remove from heat; stir in pasta, 3/4 cup mozzarella, herbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper.
4. Combine ricotta, remaining salt, and egg. Stir into pasta mixture. Spoon into an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until bubbly and browned.
*I love Publix's organic sun dried tomato chicken sausage, but any chicken, turkey or pork sausage would work here. You could also eliminate it entirely for a vegetarian dish.