Baked Ziti with Mediterranean Cheese and Olive Tapenade
With bold and zesty Mediterranean flavours — likes olives, parsley and capers — this vegetarian baked ziti dish delivers a wallop of flavour in under an hour.
- 1 cup (250 mL) pitted black olives
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) packed fresh parsley leaves
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) drained capers
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried herbes de Provence
- 2 cloves garlic (whole)
- 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
- 1/4 tsp (1 mL) black pepper
- 1/3 cup (75 mL) olive oil
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) white wine vinegar
- 12 oz (375 g) ziti pasta
- 2 cups (500 mL) tomato sauce
- 1 pkg (320 g) Cracker Barrel Mediterranean Medley Blends, divided
- 1/3 cup (75 mL) thinly sliced fresh basil leaves, divided
- Tapenade: In food processor, blend olives, parsley, capers, thyme, herbes de Provence, garlic, salt and pepper until finely ground. Drizzle in oil and vinegar; pulse to combine.
- Baked Ziti: Preheat oven to 400˚F (200˚C). Grease 13 x 9-inch (33 x 22 cm) baking dish.
- In large pot of boiling salted water, cook ziti according to package directions; drain, reserving 1/4 cup (60 mL) cooking liquid.
- In large bowl, toss together ziti, reserved cooking liquid, tomato sauce, half the cheese, tapenade and 1/4 cup (60 mL) basil. Transfer to prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
- Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until cheese has melted and is bubbly. Garnish with remaining basil.
Alternatively, use store-bought tapenade.