Whole-wheat pasta holds up well in this cheesy, saucy pasta bake.
- 6 ounces uncooked whole-wheat ziti
- 1/3 cup panko
- 2 tbsp minced garlic, divided
- 1/2 tsp sea salt, divided
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 12 ounces 90% lean ground sirloin
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp EVOO
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, divided
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1 28-ounce can unsalted crushed tomatoes
- 2 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Preheat broiler to high.
- Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain in a colander over a bowl; reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid.
- Place panko, 1 tbsp garlic, 1/4 tsp salt, black pepper, beef, and egg in a bowl, stirring just until combined. Shape beef mixture into 12 meatballs. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add meatballs to pan; cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Add remaining 1 tbsp garlic; cook 30 seconds. Add reserved 1/2 cup cooking liquid, remaining 1/4 tsp salt, 3 tbsp basil, crushed red pepper, and tomatoes to pan. Reduce heat to medium; cover and simmer 15 minutes.
- Stir pasta into tomato mixture; spread evenly in skillet. Sprinkle cheese over top; broil 1 minute or until cheese melts. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tbsp basil. Serves 4 (serving size: 1 3/4 cups).
While the meatball mixture is simmering, make a Spinach, Palm, and Almond Salad. Hearts of palm have a semifirm texture and a nutty flavor. You can usually find them with the canned vegetables.
- 1 tbsp EVOO
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp minced fresh basil
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 cup sliced hearts of palm
- 5 ounces fresh baby spinach
- 3 tbsp almonds, toasted
- Combine oil, vinegar, basil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add hearts of palm and spinach; toss to coat. Sprinkle with almonds. Serves 4 (serving size: 1 cup).