Most of my understanding of the category of baked pasta is that it falls in the category of dump casserole.
Basically just combine all the ingredients, dump them into a casserole dish, and let the oven do the rest. Also known as the ultimate unfussy comfort food.
Italian-American baked pasta classics include: Chicken-Spaghetti Casserole, Baked Ziti with Meatballs or Chicken Tetrazzini. Then there’s lasagna, which is just a more refined version of baked pasta.
I really like the idea of baked pasta — a nutritious meal that doesn’t require expensive or weird ingredients, that can be prepared in a matter of minutes, and that everyone actually loves — it’s just not something I do often in my kitchen.
Sure, there’s a zoodle bake recipe in my archives (that you guys seem to love so much) but that’s about it.
So the time has come for a pasta bake recipe. This blog needs it, I need it, you probably do too.
I mean, what could be more satisfying than a hearty and delicious one-pan dinner everyone enjoys?
Are you ready?
Enters these amazing Creamy Baked Ziti with Broccoli and Provolone.
This is spectacularly simple and lazy, just like me most nights after training.
What I really love about this pasta bake is that it’s rich without being heavy. Chock-full of broccoli goodness, a bit of Provolone cheese, and some Parmesan.
It has a bright green color but it’s hearty and comforting and so very creamy.
It’s anything but short on flavor.
It’s quite flexible too, should you choose to opt out some of the cheese and add some protein (such as some crispy bacon or pancetta!) or more veggies.
Now go make some!
Creamy Baked Ziti with Broccoli and Provolone Print this recipe!
3 medium broccoli heads (about 1½ lbs / 680 gr), trimmed and cut into medium florets
1 lb / 453 gr ziti pasta (I used Garofalo GF penne rigate)
8 oz / 220 gr provolone cheese slices, cut into strips
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon fine grain salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) and place a rack in the middle.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Add broccoli florets and cook for 6-8 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Using a slotted spoon fish the broccoli out of the water and transfer to the bowl of a food processor (or blender). Leave the pot of water on the hot stove, as you will use it to cook your pasta.
Add garlic, 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the bowl of the food processor. Pulse until a smooth and creamy mixture is formed. Set aside.
Add pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook until al dente (slightly undercooked), drain, and run under cold water to stop the cooking.
In a large bowl combine pasta, broccoli mixture, olive oil, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using).
Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish and layer as follows: ½ of the ziti, ½ of the Provolone cheese, then remaining ziti, and remaining Provolone cheese. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbling. Serve!
One serving yields 381 calories, 10 grams of fat, 57 grams of carbs, and 17 grams of protein.