As a former Biggest Loser fanatic, I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Rocco DiSpirito’s boyish good looks and his persistence in trying to make healthy food look and taste good.  To that end, he’s created a whole Now Eat This! cookbook series (and now tv show!) that is aimed at turning previously unhealthy dishes into meals that you can feel good about eating, the newest installment of which is Now Eat This! Italian.  As a serious lover of Italian food and as someone who hates that sluggish feeling that often comes after eating it, I was thrilled when I was sent this cookbook to review and couldn’t wait to delve into it’s gorgeously photographed pages.

Now Eat This! Italian is filled with recipes for over 90 Italian classics that you no longer have to feel guilty about eating. Everything from mozzarella en carozza, eggplant rollatini, and lasagna to classic cannoli can be found in this fabulous book at under 350 calories per serving.  So that you can totally have your cannelloni and eat your ricotta cheesecake too.  Not only that, but each recipe is accompanied with gorgeous photos not only of the food, but of Rocco cooking with his family, adding such a nice personal note to the tome.  For those of us looking to eat a bit healthier in the new year while still getting to enjoy some of our comfort food favorites, this is a great book to have on hand.

I made the baked ziti from it, making only a few changes to the recipe.  While Rocco suggested using a premade sauce, I opted to make my own using ingredients that I had on hand. In addition, I added some eggplant into the mix for extra veggies and bulk.  The resulting meal was fabulous and I couldn’t tell that I was eating a healthier version except for the fact that I didn’t feel like I was going into a food coma afterwards. WIN.  For the recipe, head over to Marcus Samuelsson’s blog where I’ve posted it!

I would also like to announce the winners of my POM giveaway!
Commenter # 5- Colleen of What’s Baking in the Barbershop
Commenter # 20 – Anne of From Anne’s Kitchen
Commenter # 50 – Kelsey of Apple A Day
Commenter # 53 – Ooh, Look
Commenter # 54 – Suzie of Two Dogs in the Kitchen
Commenter # 60 – Susan of Savoring Time in the Kitchen
Commenter # 75 – Karen of Back Road Journal
Commenter # 77 – Angela of The Squishy Monster
Commenter # 96 – Roz of La Bella Vita
Commenter # 98 – Christina V of Youth and Biodiversity

If you all could shoot me an email at [email protected] so that I can get your prizes out to you ASAP, I would appreciate it!

You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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41 Responses to Baked Ziti with Eggplant…and a Review of Now Eat This! Italian

  1. Oh yes… bring on the baked ziti… perfect for this incredibly dreary day!

  2. cquek says:

    I’m truly captivated by the pretty photos

  3. Mary Younkin says:

    This sounds delicious and absolutely perfect for a chilly day! I’m off to check out your recipe now. Have a blessed day, Joanne!

  4. Italian that you don’t have to feel guilty about?! Genius!

  5. Tandy says:

    I love the sound of this recipe book 🙂

  6. Have your cannelloni and eat your ricotta cheesecake too! Ha ha, you are too funny, Joanne. 🙂 I wonder what his tricks are for healthifying the recipes.

  7. I used to have such a crush on Rocco, back when I still watched a ton of food tv! hehe. This recipe sounds totally delicious…healthier without skimping on flavor!

  8. I definitely agree – Rocco is irresistible! Love this pasta. Looks fabulous!

  9. Who doesn’t love a plate of homemade baked ziti? And with eggplant? Even better!
    I can’t believe I’m one of the winners – so fun! Thank you! Will email you 🙂

  10. Ohh looks delish! I love Rocco, I have his cookbook! I am going to dog it out when I get home from work! Your baked zitti looks amazing! Perfect, hearty, cozy comfort food!

  11. SallyBR says:

    This cookbook went completely under the radar for me, and I love the concept (as you may imagine).

    I will jump to just to investigate, of course. I would never consider getting another cookbook. Never. (sigh)

  12. elly says:

    Yum, love eggplant with baked ziti. And Rocco is a cutie pie. 🙂

  13. Congrats on the Marcus S. guest post – and I would love some baked eggplant right now!

  14. Haven’t even heard of this book till you said something.
    It’s so hard to keep up with all the chefs and their books.
    You know who I want to publish is Fabio–I think he is very talented and has the ability to write very well.

  15. I hope it’s not too late to ask my husband for Rocco’s cookbook for Christmas. I need healthy Italian in my life right about now!

  16. That Girl says:

    I’ve never made a Rocco recipe – I should look into them, I like the philosophy.

  17. yes and yes to your spicy and eggplant additions 🙂

  18. Juliana says:

    I love the way that this pasta dish looks…very flavorful and great for sharing….yum!
    Have a great week Joanne!

  19. cindspectus says:

    Healthy Italian? Sign me up! I know I’ll never see these recipes on the table on Christmas Eve, but I could totally get behind this the rest of the year.

  20. This recipe sounds right up my alley, as does the book!

  21. I love baked ziti! This looks like one delicious dish!

  22. Karis says:

    Baked ziti is great and yet I’ve never attempted it at home, which is stupid. This recipe looks like a great place to start!

  23. Sarah says:

    YUM! Give me all the baked ziti! This looks like the perfect homey dish.

  24. This sounds so hearty! I love baked pastas with lots of veggies!

  25. Pam says:

    I love baked ziti! Congrats to the winners.

  26. I have to check out thsese books Joanne – they sound good!

  27. There’s my name 🙂 Yay!! Thank you, Joanne! I was already contacted by Pom but I’ll email you too. I’m thrilled!

    I can’t believe I’ve never made baked ziti – it looks delicious!

  28. Gloria says:

    Look really delicious Joanne!!

  29. Lovely ziti…I’ve been craving eggplant parm and poof you read my mind…I may have to make this instead though…excited about the pom (love the stuff) thanks Jo!!! =)

  30. Christine says:

    Another excellent recipe Joanne! We’re having a nasty high-powered wind storm right now, downing trees, cutting the lights and it’s freezing. Well, as freezing as it can get in Southern California so I can’t complain too loudly. 😉 But I would love to enjoy a nice warm dish of this right now.

  31. MM says:

    Hi, Joanne! It’s been a while since I’ve visited you and I apologize for that. The ziti looks fantastic. Oh, that melty cheese! My son has become a huge eggplant lover. He’s always loved pasta. I think this would be a winner for him.

  32. JoJo says:

    Yummm.. the melted cheese is making me hungry right now!!
    I’ve actually never made ziti before, but will have to try now!

  33. Johanna GGG says:

    looks delicious – hope your family loves it at Christmas

  34. Is that some kinds paste you have put in?
    Its looks delicious & i hope it tastes the same.

  35. Blond Duck says:

    I bought that book for my sister for her birthday!

  36. This looks so good, Joanne! Love a healthier take on a heavy meal!

  37. Reeni Pisano says:

    Baked ziti with eggplant rocks! I’ve had it a few times in the last few weeks and it is a new favorite. I don’t think I can go back to plain ziti now.

  38. Hotly Spiced says:

    Did I tell you I received the Middle Eastern Cookbook? It arrived last week. Thanks so much. It has some wonderful recipes that I’m looking forward to trying xx

  39. Looks good…ow to get the recipe. See you over there!

  40. Baked ziti was one of my childhood favorites when living in New York! I’ve never had it with eggplant so this is definitely a must-make for me! Heading over to get the recipe! 🙂

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