Ziti with Ricotta and Vegetables
8 ounces dried ziti or penne pasta
2-1/2 cups broccoli florets
1-1/2 cups asparagus or green beans cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large ripe tomatoes
1 cup light ricotta cheese
1/4 cup snipped fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried basil, crushed
4 teaspoons snipped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting any oil or salt and adding broccoli and asparagus or green beans the last 3 minutes of cooking; drain.
2. Meanwhile, place a fine strainer over a large bowl. Cut tomatoes in half; squeeze seeds and juice into strainer. With the back of a spoon, press on seeds to extract juice; discard seeds, reserving tomatoes.
3. Add ricotta cheese, basil, thyme, vinegar, oil, garlic, salt, and pepper to tomato juice in bowl; mix well. Chop reserved tomatoes; stir into ricotta mixture. Add hot cooked pasta and vegetables to ricotta mixture. Toss to combine. Sprinkle each serving with Parmesan cheese; serve immediately. Makes 4 main-dish servings.