Lidia Bastianich's Baked Whole Wheat Ziti With Chicken and Zucchini

Chef Lidia Bastianich keeps her pasta dishes healthy by maintaining a healthy ratio of the pasta with the protein and the veggies. Also, using a whole-wheat pasta adds more fiber to the meal for an overall stafisying eat. 

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1/2 tsp Kosher salt (plus more for the pot)
1/4 cup Extra-virgin olive oil
1 Medium onion (sliced)
6 oz Chicken breast (cut into small pieces)
1 lb Medium zucchini (sliced)
1 can (28 oz) Whole San Marzano tomatoes (crushed by hand)
1 cup Fresh basil leaves (roughly chopped loosely packed)
1 lb Whole wheat ziti
4 oz Shredded Fontina
1 cup Grated Grana Padano

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for pasta.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for one to two minutes then add the chicken breast and cook for approximately two minutes on each side.

Add the zucchini, and cook another 5 minutes.

Add the crushed tomatoes, slosh 1 cup water in the tomato can, and add it to the skillet as well. Bring the sauce to a boil, and simmer just until it thickens, about 8 to 10 minutes, but don’t let the zucchini begin to fall apart. Then toss in the chopped basil.

Meanwhile, cook the whole-wheat ziti until al dente, a few minutes shy of the package directions.

Drain the pasta, and toss it in the skillet with the chicken tomato sauce and basil.

Butter a 9-x-13-inch baking dish.

In a medium bowl, toss together the two cheeses.

Spread half the pasta and sauce in the baking dish, and top with half the cheese. Layer the remaining pasta and sauce, then the remaining cheese.

Bake, uncovered, until browned and bubbly, about 20 minutes.