This asparagus pasta bake is an upgraded version of the baked ziti classic, complete with creamy texture from ricotta and mozzarella cheese.
- 1 pound ziti pasta
- 1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
- 1 (28 ounce) jar tomato sauce, divided
- 2 cups finely shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper, diced
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil; cook ziti at a boil until tender yet firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
- Add ricotta cheese, 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, and parsley to drained pasta. Mix and set aside.
- Chop trimmed asparagus into 1/4-inch slices, separating stems and tips.
- Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute for 5 minutes. Stir in asparagus stems; cook for another 3 minutes. Add bell pepper and cook, 2 to 3 minutes. Add asparagus tips and cook, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Spread 1 cup tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish. Add 1/2 of the pasta mixture and smooth into an even layer. Sprinkle 1/2 of the vegetables on top. Top with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Add remaining pasta in an even layer, followed by remaining vegetables. Cover with remaining tomato sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Bake, uncovered, on the middle rack of the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Move to the top rack and continue to bake until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 5 minutes more. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.