Broccoli Rabe and Artichoke Baked Ziti
1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Enough water to cover three artichokes.
2. Trim the tips of the artichoke leaves (they have sharp spikes). Cutaway the base of the artichoke and any smaller leaves close to the base. Using a serrated knife, slice around 3/4 inch to an inch off the tip of the artichoke. Place the artichokes base side down in the boiling water. Place a small lid over the artichokes to keep them submerged in the water. Boil for 30 minutes, until the outer leaves are easily pulled off. Remove the artichokes from the water and let cool. (Do not discard the artichoke water.)
3. Once the artichokes are cool, remove the outer leaves until you have gotten to the artichoke heart. Cut the artichoke heart into 6 – 8 small pieces. Set the artichoke pieces to the side.
4. Place the broccoli rabe in the artichoke water and boil for 3 – 5 minutes until the broccoli rabe is tender and bright green. Strain and set to the side. Once cool, chop into bite-size pieces.
5. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
6. In a large frying pan, heat the oil on medium heat. Add the onions and fry until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and fry until aromatic.
7. Add the ground beef or plant-based crumbles and fry until light brown.
8. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and basil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt.
9. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the dry ziti noodles and cook until al dente. You don’t want the noodles too soft because they will further cook down in the tomato sauce. Drain the noodles and add them to a 9 x 13 lasagna pan.
10. Add the tomato meat sauce to the noodles + 1 cup of water and combine. If your pasta sauce seems on the more liquid side, omit the cup of water. Add the Parmesan cheese and combine.
11. Top the ziti with cubed mozzarella cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.
12. Place the lasagna pan into the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Turn the oven to broil and cook for 1 – 2 minutes until the cheese is golden and bubbling.
13. Remove from the oven and serve warm.
14. The baked ziti can be kept in the fridge in a container with a tight-fitting lid for 5 days.