Old-School Baked Ziti with Mushrooms, Spinach, and Garlic Bread

Ciao, bella! The classic Italian-American comfort icon will put your mind, heart, and belly in a happy place. Easier to make than lasagna (no tricky layers!), this baked pasta has mushrooms and spinach bumping its flavor and garlic bread to clean up any sauce at the bottom. Chow, bella!

9 oz. Butter
6 oz. Ziti
2 Garlic Cloves
2 fl. oz. White Cooking Wine
15 oz. Crushed Tomatoes
1 tsp. Dried Oregano
6 oz. Cremini Mushrooms
1 Mini Baguette
4 oz. Baby Spinach
4 oz. Shredded Mozzarella
1 oz. Grated Pecorino Cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Set butter on counter to soften. Bring a medium pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Thoroughly rinse produce and pat dry. Prepare a baking sheet with foil. Prepare a casserole dish with cooking spray. Place a colander in the sink.

Cook the pasta: Add pasta to boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 8-10 minutes. Drain pasta. Reserve pot; no need to wipe clean. While pasta cooks, make sauce.

Cook the sauce: Mince garlic. Place a small pot over medium heat and add 2 tsp. olive oil and half the garlic (reserve remaining for garlic bread) to hot pot. Cook until fragrant, 1-2 minute. Add white wine and cook 1 minute. Stir in crushed tomatoes, ½ cup water, and oregano. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring often, 8-10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. While sauce simmers, prepare ingredients.

Prepare the ingredients: Cut mushrooms into ¼” slices. Halve baguette lengthwise and slice each half on an angle, creating four wedges.

Cook Mushrooms and Spinach: Return pot used to cook pasta to medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbsp. olive oil and mushrooms to hot pot and cook until lightly browned, 2-3 minutes. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted, 1 minute. Remove from burner and add sauce and cooked pasta. Toss to combine.

Bake Pasta and Toast Bread: Add half the pasta to prepared casserole dish and top with half the mozzarella. Add remaining pasta, and sprinkle with pecorino and remaining mozzarella. Bake until top is golden brown, 18-20 minutes. While pasta bakes, spread butter and remaining garlic on baguette slices. Halfway through pasta cooking time, place baguette on prepared baking sheet and bake until golden brown, 7-9 minutes.

Plate the Dish: Serve pasta straight from casserole dish along with garlic bread.

Courtesy of Home Chef