In The Kitchen: Take comfort: Pasta can be a healthy choice

Baked Ziti is an excellent dinner choice for those who love pasta.

Baked Ziti is an excellent dinner choice for those who love pasta.

Pasta is a comfort food. Busy families continue to search for foods that are healthy, satisfying and economical, and many can find that combination in the pasta aisle.

Alone, pasta is virtually fat free and salt free and is a healthy meal option for consumers. Also, as a food that is low on the Glycemic Index (GI), it is digested more slowly and naturally satisfies hunger longer without spiking your blood sugar levels.

Pasta comes in many shapes and sizes. There are even some fun shapes, such as dinosaurs for kids and UT logos for the Vol fan. The many different names of types of pasta can be confusing, but it is best to remember that the basic difference in all pasta is the shape. Different shapes of pasta are typically matched with a particular sauce, based on cooking time, consistency, ability to hold sauce and ease of eating.

This recipe uses Ziti macaroni. It’s a delicious dish that is easy to make.

Baked Ziti

1 jar (26 or 28 oz.) spaghetti sauce with onions and garlic

1 pkg. (16 oz.) Ziti macaroni

1 lb. ground beef (browned and drained)

1 carton (15 oz.) Ricotta cheese

1 cup sour cream

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1 egg slightly beaten

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1 pkg. (8 oz.) shredded Mozzarella cheese

Cook pasta according to directions, drain and set aside. In large bowl, combine ground beef, pasta, Ricotta cheese, sour cream, Parmesan cheese, egg, salt and pepper and 1/2 of the jar of spaghetti sauce.

Mix well. Spoon mixture into 9 x 13 inch baking dish, pour remaining spaghetti sauce on top and sprinkle with the Mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, until bubbly.

Serve with a salad and garlic bread or sticks. Refrigerate any leftovers. It’s really good warmed up the next day.

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