Baked Ziti

I'm a huge fan of hiding veggies in all kinds of meals to add a boost of nutritional value. Well who am I kidding? My 2 year old son is picky about his veggies. His big favorite right now is baked ziti! It's with pureed butternut squash and pureed red bell peppers as the hidden veggies.

Cheesy Veggie Stuffed Baked Ziti

1 lb ziti pasta noodles
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ medium onion, finely chopped
1 lb ground beef (USDA grass-fed ground beef)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 26 oz jar pasta sauce (low sodium) or homemade
6 oz Ricotta Cheese
1 Cup shredded mozzarella cheese
½ Cup grated Parmesan cheese
Pinch salt, pepper
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Cook pasta noodles according to package directionsDrain and set aside.

2. Place olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute onion until softened, about 5 minutes. Brown beef.
3. Add pasta sauce and pureed red bell pepper and pureed butternut squash and reduce heat to low and stir in noodles.
4. Place ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, salt and pepper into a large bowl. Stir until well combined. 
5. Place ½ pasta into a 9×13 inch baking dish or keep it all in the skillet. Spoon ricotta mixture evenly over pasta, covering entire dish. Pour remaining pasta over cheese, then sprinkle with shredded mozzarella.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
8 servings

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