Baked Ziti with Summer Vegetables Recipe


We lightened up the usual baked pasta with loads of in-season squash and tomatoes—this is a delicious way to use up your farmers' market haul. When making a pasta dish, one simple trick will take the dish from good to great. Quality ingredients are a must; always choose the best cheese, sausages, and vegetables available. The key to making great tasting pasta, however, is in the cooking water. Add about 2 tablespoons of kosher salt to a large stockpot of water before boiling. Salted water flavors the pasta internally as it absorbs liquid and swells. When the pasta is cooked, reserve a couple of cups of cooking water before draining the pasta. The salty, starchy liquid seasons your homemade sauce, gives it a silky texture and helps it cling to the noodles.

Baked Ziti with Summer Vegetables
Photo: Alison Miksch
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
50 mins
8 serves


  • 1 pound uncooked ziti pasta

  • 2 ½ pounds yellow squash and zucchini, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds and half-moons

  • 2 pt. red grape tomatoes

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided

  • 2 cups ricotta cheese

  • 2 ounces Romano cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)

  • cup chopped fresh basil

  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

  • 1 (12-oz.) jar marinara sauce

  • 6 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • Fresh basil leaves


  1. Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. Drain and cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

  2. While pasta cooks, preheat broiler with oven rack 6 inches from heat. Toss together squash, zucchini, tomatoes, garlic, 2 tablespoons of the oil, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper on an aluminum foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Spread in a single layer; broil until charred and tender, about 10 minutes.

  3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Stir together ricotta, Romano, basil, vinegar, and remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl.

  4. Combine pasta, cooked vegetables, and marinara sauce in a large bowl; gently stir to combine. Spoon half of pasta mixture into a 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Dollop 1 cup of ricotta mixture evenly on pasta mixture. Repeat with remaining pasta mixture and ricotta mixture. Top evenly with mozzarella.

  5. Bake at 350°F until lightly browned and bubbly, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with basil.

Test Kitchen Tip

Broil the vegetables before you add them to the pasta to keep them from releasing too much water as the pasta bakes.

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