Baked Ziti for Food Allergies

First, the disclaimer: This recipe accommodates people who are allergic to wheat, corn and dairy–as in cow, not sheep and goat. These are the allergies Bill deals with so they’re the ones I usually work around. Since he is only allergic to cow products–in this case, cheese–we substitute either sheep or goat cheese, which I think are just as delicious, if not better.

This is a simple recipe you can easily make within an hour unless you like to make your pasta sauce from scratch. We’re pretty happy with Muir Glen organic pasta sauce.

All I did was saute half a red onion (chopped) in olive oil until tender, then added some finely chopped Greek olives, plus dried oregano. I poured in some dry red wine (Pinot Noir is what I had on hand), scraping up the onion and olive bits to deglaze the pan, followed by a jar of the Muir Glen sauce. Then I covered the pan and let the sauce simmer about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, I cooked a one-pound package of Pasta Joy brown rice penne until just about al dente  (yes, penne–I can’t find rice ziti!) and grated some Bulgarian sheep’s cheese (found at grocery stores that sell or specialize in Mediterranean foods). I like a soft sheep’s cheese, such as Bulgarian, because it melts like mozzarella. You could also mix in some Pecorino cheese for a deeper cheese flavor.

To assemble, I drizzled olive oil in the bottom of a large baking dish, added some sauce, then the cooked pasta, then the rest of the sauce, stirring to coat all the pasta with sauce. I covered the pasta with the grated cheese and some more olive oil, then put foil on top and baked it for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees F. By then the cheese was nicely melted so I removed the foil and baked it about 7 more minutes, until the cheese was bubbly and golden.

No meat, you ask? Not this time. The olives and the cheese add enough protein and flavor that this pasta dish is a happy meal as is.


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