About a month ago I volunteered to cook supper for about 20 people who are in town for the summer. A friend of mine volunteers at an inner-city ministry and she had posted on Facebook that they needed help feeding the interns who have come to work there. I really don't know anything about it at all. Just that some people are in town doing something good for someone else and they need to eat. I can cook, therefore, I can help.
Cooking for 20 people is a challenge when you are trying to prepare a meal that most people will like without breaking the bank. I wanted to take something that tasted good, but was economical, too. So, I decided to take Baked Ziti. My version is very simple: ground beef, pasta, cheese, and a mixture of homemade and purchased spaghetti sauces.
Yesterday was my day to feed the group and on Sunday I received a reminder email. All of the details in the email were what I already knew - have the food at the community center at 5:15, cook for 20 people, etc. Then I saw this line: "One of our interns is a vegetarian, if possible provide an option for her please."
I have never even thought about vegetarian cooking! I have prepared vegetarian meals, but not with that specific thought in mind. The baked ziti would still work for most of the interns and I had already planned to bring a salad, but that didn't seem to be enough of an "option" for the vegetarian. I had to head out on some uncharted territory to find an additional dish to bring.
After looking on AllRecipes.com for some ideas, I invented my own recipe and it was amazing delicious!
Baked Ziti Alfredo with Summer Squash
* Melt one stick butter in large pan.
* To the butter, add 1/2 large onion, chopped, and 2 summer squash, chopped
* Saute until onion is clear and squash is softened, then add 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic.
* Add 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes.
* Add 2 cups half-and-half, 1 cup milk, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly.
* Add one jar Ragu Alfredo sauce and 12 ounces ready made spaghetti sauce.
* Boil 1 box ziti noodles in salted water until just tender.
* Stir together the sauce and noodles. Pour into 9x13 pan.
* Top with shredded mozzarella cheese and bake at 350 degrees until cheese is melted and barely beginning to brown.