I believe that Italian dishes lend themselves to healthy add ins that will still leave the family clueless. If they like pepperoni pizza and they like pasta...they should love this dish. And they'll never know that you snuck some veggies in there. You can do this by simply grating whatever greens you might want to throw in or if you some puree around, you could throw that in too. Some suggestions would be pureed carrots, zucchini, butternut squash or spinach. Remember though...add in a little at a time so as to not throw off the taste.
I made this vegetarian by using Morning Star Farms ground beef and Yves pepperoni slices. Simple as that!
- 8 ounces rotini pasta
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 (28 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
- 4 ounces sliced pepperoni sausage
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 of 1 med zucchini - grated
- 1/2 c. grated carrots
- fresh basil and fresh oregano
- 1 egg
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
- In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, cook beef with onion, carrots and zuchinni until beef is brown. Drain. Sprinkle chopped basil and allow heat to wilt. Combine beef mixture with spaghetti sauce and cooked pasta and pour into a 9x13 inch baking dish.
- In a small bowl mix together egg and 3/4 15 oz Ricotta. Season with salt and pepper and finely chopped oregano. Spread over pasta mixture. Layer pepperoni and top with mozzarella.
- Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until cheese is melted and golden.
**Variations - Shredded asiago on top of ricotta layer. Use Italian blend of cheese in place of mozzarella. I also added about 1/4 c. parmesan to sauce and pasta mixture before pouring into pan. We like it cheesy!