A Dish Even A Traditional Italian Will Love: Sargent Choice Baked Ziti

By Bianca Marina, Dietetics Student, Sargent College

With a name like Bianca Marina Tamburello, you may be able to guess that I come from a traditional Italian family.

In my house, baked ziti is the equivalent of creamy macaroni and cheese. It is a quick dinner to prepare, perfect for leftovers, and also pleases even the pickiest eaters. I remember my sister, brother, and I giggling around the kitchen table as we tried to slurp up the never-ending melted strings of mozzarella on top of the baked ziti.

This warm cheesy pasta dressed in tomato sauce is a comfort food that we often prepare for our close friends and family to express feelings that cannot always be expressed in words. My mother and grandmother prepare baked ziti for families who have recently experienced a loss, for birthday celebrations, and even to thank friends for their help.

Once again, Sargent Choice has transformed a classic dish that I hold close to my heart, into a balanced meal without skimping on flavor.

I’d like to thank the lovely girls of the Sargent floor of Towers (7th floor, West tower) for being wonderful cooks at Karen’s Test Kitchen this week! The girls helped us make a quick batch of sauce with diced tomatoes, onions, garlic, and pesto.


After making the sauce, we combined the cooked Whole Wheat pasta with spinach, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese. Next, we added the hot tomato sauce and transferred the pasta into a baking pan.


Before placing the pasta in the oven, we sprinkled some Parmesan cheese on top and covered the pan with aluminum foil. The dish was finally placed in the oven to bake for about 30 minutes.


As we peeled back the aluminum foil, a masterpiece of vibrant green spinach and plump tomatoes in a sea of ziti was revealed. Covered in melted cheese, the ziti made our mouths water, and we quickly served everyone a portion. I was pleased to find that the baked ziti was just as comforting and delicious as my own mom’s recipe.


Sargent Choice

Baked Ziti with Spinach and Tomatoes

Yields 12 servings


2 teaspoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 large garlic cloves, chopped

1 28 –oz. can diced peeled tomatoes

¼ cup purchased pesto sauce

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

1 13-oz box whole wheat penne, freshly cooked according to package directions

12 cups ready-to-use spinach leaves (about 10-oz package)

6 ounces low-fat mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)


1.       Heat oil in large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until soft

2.       Add garlic and cook for an additional minute or so, being careful not to burn.

3.       Add tomatoes with juices to pan. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

4.       Stir in pesto and season with salt and pepper.

5.       Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil 13 x 9-inch glass baking dish.

6.       Combine pasta, spinach, mozzarella and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese in large bowl.

7.       Stir in hot tomato sauce

8.       Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish. Sprinkle remaining 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese on top.

9.       Cover the pan with foil. Bake for 20 minutes.

10.   Uncover and bake for ~10 minutes additional minutes, until sauce bubbles and cheeses melt.

1 Serving
Calories 248
Fat 8 g
Saturated Fat 3 g
Protein 12 g
Carbohydrates 30 g
Fiber 5 g


Buy Hydroxycut posted on November 8, 2011 at 11:37 pm

Hi there,

Yummy you made me hungry now and this is a big problem. Looks a delicious dish, can you send me a dish in an email LOL

You also should try Egyptian dishes they taste very well.

Thanks for sharing this with us….


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