veggie baked ziti

I am 100% over eating caprese salads with burrata. I go real hard on them in July and August... so when tomato season really kicks into gear I'm just tired. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of buying more burrata at Trader Joe's one day. I was feeling ambitious and also like "I still have so many tomatoes in my garden" guilty. 

Thankfully, I scrolled past this baked ziti recipe on Instagram one day and was saved. It would be a home for so many things from the garden: tomatoes, basil, and peppers. Plus, it would be a very different use for burrata. 

If you are ever looking to sneak vegetables into a dish, this one is for you. I barely even noticed the carrots and mushrooms when I was eating. That being said, it was not as creamy as I would like. I might recommend adding like 30% more if you make it. But also it was totally fine! I just had a slightly more sinful and gooey image in my mind when I was chopping away.

Also, if you aren't into burrata... no big deal. I ate some of my leftovers last night sans burrata and it was just fine. The burrata adds a wonderful creamy-ness to this dish that just about anyone can get behind.
  1. In a medium saucepan, set over medium heat, add the olive oil. Add the carrot, red bell pepper and diced mushrooms. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. 
  2. Add in the minced garlic, marinara sauce, salt and crushed red pepper and 1/4 cup of water. Bring the sauce to a simmer and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until the sauce has thickened, about 7 to 8 minutes. When the sauce has thickened, add the mozzarella and ricotta and mix it until combined.
  3. Meanwhile... cook the ziti and cook until al dente. Drain and add to the pot with the sauce and mix until the ziti is thoroughly coated in sauce.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Add the ziti to a 8x8 baking dish. Top with a small sprinkling of mozzarella. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  5. At the 20 minute mark, remove it from the oven. Add the burrata to the top of the dish. Think like half a ball for each person.
  6. Place it back in the oven to bake for 3 minutes longer, just until warm. Garnish with a bit of crushed red pepper and basil.
Shopping List
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small carrot, peeled and diced
1/4 red bell pepper, diced
3 cremini or button mushrooms, stems removed and diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes , plus more for garnish
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella, plus more for topping
1/3 cup ricotta
1 ball of burrata
1/2 pound ziti
Basil leaves, for garnish

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