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Spring-Summer Ziti


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

  • 3 large shallots, thinly sliced

  • 3 large cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped

  • 1 can San Marzano plum tomatoes (28 ounces)

  • Salt and pepper

  • 4 stems fresh tarragon, leaves removed, then chopped

  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced (10 leaves)

  • 1 pound ziti with lines

  • 1 pound thin asparagus, trimmed of woody ends, then chopped on an angle into 1 1/2-inch pieces

  • 1 cup frozen peas

  • 1 cup ricotta cheese

  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, divided

  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced


Pre-heat the oven to 400°F. Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring it up to a boil to cook the pasta. While the water is coming to a boil, place a medium size, high-sided skillet on the stove with 2 tablespoons EVOO over medium heat. Sauté the shallots and garlic for 3-4 minutes, then stir in the tomatoes and crush them with a wooden spoon or potato masher. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for 5 minutes more, then stir in the tarragon and basil and turn off the heat. While the sauce is simmering, add salt to the boiling water and cook the pasta to just under al dente – it should have a nice bite left to it. After the pasta has been cooking for 5 minutes, add in the asparagus and frozen peas (this will be about a minute or two before draining). Drain the pasta and veggies. Add the ricotta and half of the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to the empty hot pasta pot. Add the hot pasta back into the pot and stir to coat the pasta evenly with the cheese mixture. Pour half of the sauce into a large baking dish. Add all of the ziti to the dish and top with the remaining sauce. Dot the top of the ziti with the mozzarella and the remaining Parmigiano Reggiano. Place the ziti in the oven until the top is brown and bubbly, about 12 minutes. This is one of many "Yum-o!" recipes – it's good and good for you. To find out more about Yum-o!, Rachael's nonprofit organization, go to