Thursday, January 5, 2012

Weight Watchers Baked Ziti

Here's another Weight Watchers recipe we'll be enjoying later this month.  The portion size on this recipe is smaller than I would normally eat, but I serve it with a piece of garlic bread (Texas Toast) for 4 points plus, and a salad (however big I feel I need...) for 2-3 points, depending on toppings, and it makes a really big, satisfying meal.

Weight Watchers Baked Ziti

3 sprays cooking spray
1 pound uncooked pasta, rigatoni or penne
3/4 pound part-skim ricotta cheese (I've substituted cottage cheese)
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese, divided
4 c store-bought marinara sauce, divided*
1/2 pound shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 c basil, cut into ribbons, for garnish (I leave this off or will add some dried basil to the sauce for flavor)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat bottom and sides of a lasagna pan with cooking spray.  Cook pasta according to package directions; rinse with cool water and drain.

While pasta is cooking, in a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, red pepper flakes, 3 Tbsp Parmesan cheese and 1/3 c marinara sauce.

To assemble ziti, spoon 1/2 c sauce on bottom or prepared pan; top with half of pasta in an even layer.  Evenly spread pasta with ricotta mixture; cover with half of remaining sauce. Top with remaining pasta and spoon remaining sauce over top; sprinkle with mozzarella and remaining Tbsp Parmesan.  Bake until cheese melts and is browned, about 20 to 30 minutes.  Allow zitit to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing into 12 pieces.  Yields 1 piece per serving.

*If you don't have a store-bought sauce on hand, you can use fire-roasted diced tomatoes instead (could affect PointsPlus value).

You could also add any kind of lean meat to this recipe, just be sure to add in the PointsPlus value for the meat!!)

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