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Hearty Winter Baked Ziti

February 11th, 2009 · 7 Comments

presto pasta nights

That kale we can’t get enough of? I love to make myself a quick lunch of “green eggs and kale” (blanch kale, then poach eggs in the same water = greenish eggs), but am still hunting for a way to convince the husband and toddler of kale’s deliciousness. In the meantime, I add bits and pieces in dishes and hope that some of their nutrients (vitamins K, A, C, calcium, iron and more) rub off on the other ingredients, since the toddler is still pretty adept at picking out strange green pieces. (He did accidentally take a bite of this ziti with kale and didn’t spit it out this time, so I’m considering that a small victory.) Baked ziti is a great dish to incorporate stray winter produce languishing in your refrigerator, in this case, kale and carrots. Of course I used organic ingredients, including organic ricotta, cheese and pasta and natural, no-nitrates-added Italian sausage. And I’m submitting this hearty, healthy, classic family favorite for the 100th installment of Presto Pasta Nights. (Happy anniversary, Ruth!)

Recipe: Hearty Winter Baked Ziti

baked ziti pasta


  • 1 pound ziti noodles
  • 1 cup organic kale leaves, torn
  • 12 ounces Italian sausage, crumbled (if using links, remove casing and dice)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 3 organic carrots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 pound whole milk ricotta
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella, romano and parmesan cheeses

Instructions: Bring water to boil in a large stock pot.

Heat oil in dutch oven over medium heat. Add sausage and cook until evenly browned. Remove sausage from pan and set aside, covered.

Lower heat to medium low and add garlic and onion. Cook 2-3 minutes until translucent. Add carrots and cook another 2 minutes. Stir in oregano, sausage and tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste (go easy on the salt if your sausage is already salty).

While sauce simmers, cook pasta for 6 minutes (or 2/3 of minimum recommended cooking), adding kale for the last minute. Drain.

Stir together pasta, kale, ricotta and 1/2 of the sauce. Pour into 9×13-inch baking pan. Pour remaining sauce over top, then spead shredded cheeses evenly over top. Bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes, until cheese is golden. Makes 10-12 servings. Enjoy!

Submitted to Presto Pasta Nights, created and hosted by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast. Be sure to share your favorite pasta recipe for the special 100th round-up!

Tags: organic · pasta · recipes · sustainable family supper

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Danielle Deskins // Feb 11, 2009 at 11:33 am

    I’m so excited to have found your blog! We share many common threads in our cooking techniques. I’m anxious to try some of your recipes, including this one. Thanks for sharing.

  • 2 Nurit - 1 family. friendly. food. // Feb 11, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    Same problem here. My husband actually likes it, but the kids… no.
    I am too experimenting with all kinds of leafy greens this year. It’s pretty new to me, but I love it! It’s so good I cannot believe there no ads and commercials on TV for it! Seriously.

  • 3 Ruth // Feb 13, 2009 at 10:20 am

    It does look wonderful and perfect for the season. It was only when I had my one little ones that I learned the art of camouflage. They still love my green chicken soup – made so lovely by the spinach they normally thought was poison.

    Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights

  • 4 Cari Snell // Oct 25, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    This baked ziti looks lovely! We’d love to feature it on if you are keen with full credits and links back to your site. Please email me at to let us know! All the best. Cari

  • 5 Cari Snell // Dec 23, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    Hi Colleen! We’re finally publishing your fabulous baked ziti this Friday! You’ll see it posted at (Old Name: Dinnervibe). Thanks again and let everyone know you’ve been featured. Only 365 recipes a year get chosen!

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