This simple recipe, Fresh Ricotta & Zucchini Pasta Bake was born out of the pantry and marks a monumental moment in my life. This is my first published blog post since my move to New Zealand. This summer I turned my life upside down and moved to my parent’s hometown in Oamaru, New Zealand. I have a post in the works on all of that but in the meantime, I wanted to get an easy and quick recipe up. It’s been an adjustment cooking in a new kitchen, with new ingredients while waiting for all of my boxes to arrive with all of my kitchen tools. Needless to say, I’m making it work. Sort of.
I went from the dead of Summer, 100-degree heat of Los Angeles to the crisp and cool Spring days here in New Zealand. I’ve been craving warm, hearty dishes that as they say, ‘stick to your ribs’. I had thawed some ground beef but didn’t quite know what I wanted to do with it. Earlier in the day I was in the pantry and saw that I had some tomato sauce so I made some fresh ricotta (which sounds a lot harder than it is) and decided on a pasta bake. The creamy ricotta and the crispy, salty bread crumbs really take this simple dish to the next level. I hope you get a chance to make this soon!
- 1 lbs lean ground beef
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cups zucchini, halved longways and diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 bottle of tomato sauce; approx 540g
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup salted butter, melted
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- 2 cups dry tortiglioni shaped pasta
- 2 cups fresh ricotta ([url:1http://jessicaburns.com/2014/09/fresh-homemade-ricotta/]recipe here[/url])
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large saucepan, bring salted water to a boil over medium high heat.
- While the water is boiling, add onion to a large saute pan, cook in one tablespoon of olive oil until translucent. Add garlic and zucchini to onion mixture and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Push vegetables to the side, add ground beef and season with a dash of salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, red pepper flakes. Add tomato sauce and sugar and stir until well combined. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer. Meanwhile, in a bowl combine bread crumbs, butter, garlic salt and set aside.
- Once the water is boiled add pasta, stir and cook until al dente. Drain and pour pasta into sauce, gently stir until combined. Pour half of the mixture into the bottom of a medium-sized baking dish. Spoon half of the fresh ricotta on top of pasta mixture. Pour remaining pasta on top of ricotta layer. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top of the pasta layer. Dollop the remaining ricotta on top.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until slightly golden on top. Serve immediately.