Introduction: Baked Ziti With Spinach

About: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previous life I had founded and run the Instructables Design Studio (RIP) @ Autodesk's Pier 9 Technology Center. I'm also the author of t…

After a hard day cooking blueberry crumb cake, I want something that was quick, easy, cheap, nutritious and most importantly, delicious. That is where baked ziti with spinach comes in. In less than 20 minutes and using as few dishes as possible, I had an awesome meal.

For starters, I made my life easier by baking it in the pot I used to boil that pasta and cut down on plates by eating on the one I used to slice the cheese.
Also, unlike conventional ziti recipes you might find online, this one can easily be a single serving.

After I made this, I started to imagine the possibility and versatility of such a simple dish. For instance, you could add mushrooms, fresh tomato, grated romano pecorino or black olives into the mix. Oh... and maybe some fresh basil or mint leaves for flavor.

I can't wait to make this one again after a long day at work (or baking more cake).

Step 1: Go Get Stuff

You will need:

Some ziti or penne noodles
A jar of marinara sauce
Pre-packaged baby spinach
Mozzarella cheese
A stainless steel pot
A colander
A wooden spoon
General cutlery
A potholder

Basil leaves
Grated Romano Pecorino cheese

Step 2: Cook the Pasta

Fill a pot of water about 2/3 of the way up. Set it on the stove and boil it.

Once at a boil, toss a few handfuls of noodle in.

Once in a while give it a stir with your wooden spoon until ready (it should say cooking time on the package).

Once done, pour it out into your colander to strain it.

Step 3: Preheat the Oven

Start to preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Step 4: Add Sauce

Put the pasta back into the pot. Pour sauce onto the pasta and stir it in to your liking. However, make sure the pasta is completely coated in sauce.

Step 5: Add Stuff

Cut a handful worth of mozzarella cubes and mix them into the pot.

Take a handful worth of spinach. Wash it off under the faucet and also mix it into the pot.

Mix in whatever else you think would be good (see optional ingredients on Step 1 for suggestions).

Step 6: With Cheese on Top

Cut about 10 thin slices of mozzarella cheese and lay them on top of your pasta.

Step 7: Bake

Throw the whole thing in the oven and keep it in there until the cheese on top starts to get gooey and stringy. This usually happens around five to ten minutes in.

Use your potholder to take it out of the oven and place it oven stove. It is of the utmost importance to use the potholder as the metal handle for your pot that has been sitting in a 350 degree oven for ten minutes is bound to burn you. It is a good idea to leave the potholder around the handle to remind yourself that it is hot.

Step 8: Eat

Transfer the baked ziti to a plate using a fork or spoon.

Gobble it up.