Saturday, December 29, 2012

Baked Ziti with Italian Sausage

This is a one skillet meal, if you do it right. (I didn't, see my tips and tricks)  It cooks quick and it really packs some great flavor.  This is a meal you can make in 40 minutes.  I got it from Tracy's Culinary Adventures.
  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 lb. sweet or hot Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • ¼ t. red pepper flakes
  • 3 C. water
  • 1 (12 oz.) bag of ziti
  • ½ C. heavy cream
  • 2 C. mozzarella, shredded
  • ½ C. Parmesan cheese, grated
  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
  2. You need a large 12 in. skillet with a cover, which is oven proof, to make this a one pan meal.
  3. Set the skillet over medium heat and add the sausage that has been broken into small pieces, about ½ inch thick.
  4. Add the salt and red pepper flakes and cook until sausage is brown, about 5 minutes. 
  5. Use a wooden spoon to break the sausage up and stir occasionally.
  6. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  7. Add the tomatoes and reduce to medium-low heat, cook for 10 minutes.
  8. Add the water and pasta then cover the pan and turn up the heat to medium-high.  (adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a vigorous simmer)
  9. Cook, stirring frequently to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan, for 15 minutes or until the pasta is tender.
  10. Add the heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, and 1 C. of the mozzarella.
  11. Stir to incorporate, and then top with the remaining 1 C. mozzarella.
  12. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown.
  13. Allow the dish to set for 5 minutes, and then serve.
Tips and Tricks:
  • I started this recipe in a skillet that I thought was big enough for this recipe, but when I added the water, I realized there was NO room for the ziti.  I had to transfer to a pot (not a skillet) then I realized the pot wasn't oven proof, so I had to transfer to a Corning ware.  Save yourself the time and cleanup and make sure you start with something large enough to hold about 8 cups AND something that can be put in the oven.

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