Baked ziti with chicken is one of David’s favorite foods, and whenever I ask him what he wants, he usually requests it. Sadly for David, I rarely make it because I don’t love chicken in my baked ziti. He recently conquered a huge academic milestone, so I decided to surprise him with some ziti. But instead of chicken, I used shrimp, and EUREKA! It’s incredible. This is one meal that I will crave and crave. I love that the ziti is spiked with vegetables too, so it isn’t a complete carb-overload. Delicious!
To make this baked ziti, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While the water boils, defrost some shrimp (about 1/2 pound), remove their shells and tails, and cut them into pieces. To serve about 4 people, cook 1/2 pound of penne pasta until it is shy of al dente, about 2 minutes less than the recommended cooking time on the box. In the last minute of cooking the pasta, add the shrimp to the pot. When the time is up, strain out the pasta and shrimp, and run it under cold water to stop the cooking. Transfer the pasta and shrimp to a large mixing bowl.
Preheat your oven to 350º F. Then, cut up the vegetables of your choice. I used scallions, asparagus, and tomato.
Add the vegetables to the bowl of pasta along with 1 can (14 ounces) of marinara sauce and 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese. Stir everything together until it is well distributed.
Stella could not get enough of the delicious smell, even before everything was cooked! She has a serious sniffer. And check out that toe hair…
Transfer the ziti mixture to a greased baking dish, and spread it evenly. Top the pasta with sliced or shredded mozzarella cheese.
Bake the ziti for 30 minutes, rotating the dish half way through, until the cheese is bubbly and brown. Top the baked ziti with chopped basil for a burst of freshness. Let the ziti rest for a few minutes, and then serve it out. I love the succulent morsels of delicious shrimp, but the browned cheese and crispy top noodles are my absolute favorite. And David enjoyed it too!
- Penne pasta- 1/2 pound
- Shrimp- 1/2 pound
- Asparagus- 2 spears
- Scallions- 3
- Tomato- 1
- Marinara sauce- 14 ounces
- Mozzarella cheese- Approximately 2 cups, shredded