Three Cheese Baked Ziti
My family went nuts for this dish. They’re huge pasta lovers and the cheese sauce made with three cheeses sealed the deal.
The sauce that coats the pasta is so cheesy, rich, and full of flavor. Anytime you’ve got three great cheeses like mozzarella, fontina, and parmesan melted together, things are going to be good. Throw in some browned onions, garlic, and juicy tomatoes and it’s a total win.
The recipe is easy and you can prep it up to 2 days in advance and bake it off when you’re ready.
It makes an ample amount which is great for planned leftovers. And the leftovers freeze well for hectic nights when all you can manage is pulling something from the freezer. I love having a few get-out-of-jail-free-cards stashed in my freezer.
Rather than using heavy cream in the cheese sauce I used Silk Unsweetened Cashewmilk. It’s so irresistibly creamy and thick but with fewer calories than skim milk. Eating more plant-based protein is a great goal and Silk Cashewmilk or Silk Almond Milk are my milks of choice for baking, smoothies, and sauces.
The lightly golden brown cheese on top was the first thing to be devoured.
Three Cheese Baked Ziti
The sauce that coats the pasta is so cheesy, rich, and full of flavor. Anytime you’ve got three great cheeses like mozzarella, fontina, and parmesan melted together, things are going to be good. Throw in some browned onions, garlic, and juicy tomatoes and it’s a total win. The recipe is easy and you can prep it up to 2 days in advance and bake it off when you’re ready. It makes an ample amount which is great for planned leftovers. And the leftovers freeze well for hectic nights when all you can manage is pulling something from the freezer.
- 12 ounces ziti, cooked according to package directions
- one 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes (I used no-salt-added garlic and oregano-infused tomatoes)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup sweet Vidalia or yellow onion, peeled and diced small (about 1 medium onion)
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
- one 14-ounce can low-sodium vegetable stock
- 1 cup Silk Unsweetened Cashewmilk (Silk Unsweetened Vanilla Almondmilk or another milk may be substituted)
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
- 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
- 4 ounces fontina cheese, grated
- 4 ounces parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 tablespoon fresh Italian flat-left parsley or fresh basil, finely minced for garnishing, optional
- Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, transfer to a large bowl, add the tomatoes, and stir to combine.
- Transfer pasta and tomatoes to a 3-quart baking dish sprayed with cooking spray (a 9×13-inch baking pan may be substituted); set aside.
- To a large saucepan, add the olive oil and heat over medium-high heat to warm.
- Add the onion and sauté for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until soft and lightly golden brown. Stir intermittently.
- Add the garlic and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir intermittently.
- Add the vegetable stock, Cashewmilk, flour, pepper, and bring mixture to a rapid boil while whisking nearly constantly, or until no flour lumps remain. Allow mixture to boil rapidly for about 5 minutes and sauce has reduced and thickened some.
- Slowly add the cheeses, whisking constantly to incorporate. After cheeses have melted, pour cheese sauce over pasta in prepared dish. Cover with foil and at this point you can refrigerate for up to 2 days before baking or bake now.
- When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 375F, and bake covered (keep the foil on) for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until cheese is as lightly golden browned and bubbly as desired. Prior to serving, optionally garnish with parsley or basil. Serve immediately. Extra ziti will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months. Reheat leftovers gently as necessary.
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