that I'll be trying very soon. Just thought I'd share....:)
Ziti with Ricotta & Vegetables
Start to Finish: 25 min.
8 ounces dried ziti or penne pasta
2-1/2 cups broccoli florets
1-1/2 cups asparagus or green beans cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large ripe tomatoes
1 cup light ricotta cheese
1/4 cup snipped fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried basil, crushed
4 teaspoons snipped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting any oil or salt and adding broccoli and asparagus or green beans the last 3 minutes of cooking; drain.
2. Meanwhile, place a fine strainer over a large bowl. Cut tomatoes in half; squeeze seeds and juice into strainer. With the back of a spoon, press on seeds to extract juice; discard seeds, reserving tomatoes.
3. Add ricotta cheese, basil, thyme, vinegar, oil, garlic, salt, and pepper to tomato juice in bowl; mix well. Chop reserved tomatoes; stir into ricotta mixture. Add hot cooked pasta and vegetables to Toss to combine. Sprinkle each serving with Parmesan cheese; serve immediately. Makes 4 main-dish servings.
Lemon Chicken Lasagna
Prep: 20 minutes Bake: 40 minutes
Nonstick cooking spray
1 16-oz. jar roasted garlic alfredo sauce
1 Tbsp. drained capers
6 no-boil lasagna noodles
1/2 of a 15-oz. container ricotta cheese
6 oz. fontina cheese or mozarella shredded (1 1/2 cups)
1-1/2 tsp. finely shredded lemon peel
1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
1 9-oz. pkg. refrigerated or frozen cooked chicken breast strips (thawed, if frozen)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 2-quart square baking dish with cooking spray; set aside. In a saucepan combine alfredo sauce and capers. Bring to boiling over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Spoon 1/3 cup of sauce mixture into prepared dish. Top with 2 lasagna noodles. In a bowl stir together ricotta, 1 cup of the fontina cheese, and 1 teaspoon of the lemon peel. Spoon half the cheese mixture over noodles. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Top with half the chicken. Spoon half the remaining sauce over chicken layer.
2. Top with 2 more noodles, remaining ricotta mixture, and remaining chicken. Add 2 more noodles, remaining sauce, and sprinkle with remaining fontina and Parmesan.
3. Cover with foil. Bake for 40 minutes. Let stand, covered, on wire rack for 20 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with remaining lemon peel. Makes 6 servings.
Pesto Lasagna Pie
Makes 8 to 10 servings
Prep: 50 minutes Bake: 60 minutes
12 dried regular or whole wheat lasagna noodles
1 recipe Lemon-Parsley Pesto (see recipe below) or 1 cup purchased pesto
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
1 8-ounce package shredded Italian blend cheese or mozzarella cheese (2 cups)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Nonstick cooking spray
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
1/2 of an 8-ounce package fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 28-ounce can whole Italian-style tomatoes
Fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley leaves (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a 4-quart or larger pot cook noodles according to package directions until just tender. Drain noodles; rinse with cold water. Drain well; set aside.
2. Prepare Lemon-Parsley Pesto; set aside. In a medium bowl stir together egg, ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the shredded Italian blend cheese, salt, and pepper; set aside.
3. To assemble lasagna, lightly coat the inside of a 9-inch springform pan or 13x9x2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange 4 of the cooked noodles in the bottom of the pan, trimming and overlapping as necessary to cover bottom of pan with 1 layer of noodles. Top with spinach. Spoon half of the ricotta cheese mixture over spinach, spreading evenly. Spoon one-third of the pesto over ricotta layer, spreading evenly. Top with another layer of noodles, trimming to fit. Top with mushrooms. Spread remaining ricotta cheese mixture over mushrooms. Spread half of the remaining pesto over ricotta layer. Top with another layer of noodles and remaining pesto. Drain tomatoes. Slice, quarter, or halve tomatoes and place on top of layers.
4. Place springform pan in a foil-lined shallow baking pan. Bake, covered, for 45 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with remaining Italian blend cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes more or until cheese is melted and lasagna is heated through. Cover and let stand for 20 minutes before serving. Carefully remove sides of pan. Top with parsley leaves. To serve, cut lasagna into wedges. (For 13x9x2-inch pan, bake, covered with foil, in a 375 degrees F oven for 40 minutes; uncover and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted and lasagna is heated through.) Makes 8 to 10 servings.
Lemon-Parsley Pesto: In a food-processor bowl combine 4 cups fresh spinach leaves (about 8 ounces), 1/2 cup fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, 1/3 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts or walnuts, 2 cloves garlic quartered, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover and process until nearly smooth. (If desired, use a blender and add 2 to 4 tablespoons water with the spinach leaves.) Makes about 1 cup.