This Summer Baked Ziti brings together the Sunday dinner favorite with the bountiful harvest of the summer garden! The tender pasta and the rich tomato sauce are combined with refreshing and juicy squash and zucchini, the hallmark vegetables of the season, as well as ripe, plump, bright grape tomatoes. There’s nothing fresher than Summer Baked Ziti for experiencing the abundance and the breeziness of the warmer months!

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  • 1 pound ziti pasta
  • 1 1/4 pounds yellow squash, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds and then half-moons
  • 1 1/4 pounds zucchini, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds and then half-moons
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup Romano cheese
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 (12-ounce) jar marinara sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • fresh basil leaves, optional, to taste, for garnish
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Step 1 –Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Step 2 –Cook the pasta in salted boiling water, according to the package directions.

Step 3 –Drain the pasta and allow it to cool for at least 10 minutes.

Step 4 –Preheat the broiler with an oven rack placed 6 inches from the heat source.

Step 5 –Toss together the squash, the zucchini, the tomatoes, the garlic, 2 tablespoons of the oil, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper on the prepared baking sheet, spreading it out into a single layer.

Step 6 –Broil the squash mixture until charred and tender, about 10 minutes.

Step 7 –Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

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Step 8 –In a small bowl, stir together the ricotta, the Romano cheese, 1/3 cup of the chopped basil, the vinegar, the remaining oil, the remaining salt, and the remaining pepper.

Step 9 –Combine the pasta, the cooked vegetables, and the marinara sauce in a large bowl, gently stirring to combine.

Step 10 –Spoon 1/2 of the pasta mixture into a 9×13-inch baking dish.

Step 11 –Dollop 1 cup of the ricotta mixture evenly on top of the pasta mixture layer.

Step 12 –Repeat the layers with the remaining pasta mixture and the remaining ricotta mixture.

Step 13 –Top the bake evenly with the mozzarella.

Step 14 –Bake until lightly browned and bubbly, about 25 minutes.

Step 15 –Let the bake stand for 5 minutes.

Step 16 –Top with the fresh basil leaves and serve.