Recipe by Team Rocco
A classic Italian dish, but created in no time flat! I usually double the sauce recipe and freeze the leftovers for up to 2 months. That way we can have ziti anytime of the week!
Top Review by Meredith K.
This is great! The sauce especially will be made again and again. I used about a teaspoon of red pepper flakes, which was perfect -- spicy, but not too hot. Next time I will cut my mozzarella cubes a bit bigger, because the ones I stirred in completely "disappeared" into the whole dish, and I had been looking forward to some gooey bites amongst the pasta and sausage. I forgot to butter the pan, but luckily it didn't stick! I baked it for 35 minutes, with the result a bit browner on top than pictured, so I think next time I'll pull it out after 30 min. Thanks, Team Rocco, for a keeper! (Reviewed for PAC '09)
- 1 lb Italian sausage (I like to use the hot, but mild or sweet works as well)
- 1⁄2 medium onion, diced
- 3 -4 garlic cloves, minced (depending on taste)
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon italian seasoning
- crushed red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper
Pasta and Cheese
- 3⁄4 lb penne rigate
- 1 lb mozzarella cheese (I buy Frigo or similar brand in a ball shape, easier to work with)
- 3⁄4 cup parmesan cheese (save half to top the pasta)
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes (if you like it hot!)
- butter, for the dish
Directions See How It's Made
- To make the Sauce:.
- In a large pot, brown Italian sausage over medium high heat until cooked through. About 5 minute.
- Reduce heat to medium, add onion and garlic. Cook until opaque. About 3-4 minute.
- Combine tomatoes, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and salt/pepper with onion, garlic, meat mixture and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer and cook covered for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Baked Ziti:.
- Cook pasta according to package, generally about 9-11 minutes for al dente.
- Halve the mozzarella. Cut half the portion into cubes, and the other half into thin slices (should look like discs, which will go on top of the pasta).
- Combine drained pasta with sauce, cubed mozzarella, 1/2 the parmesan cheese, and a pinch of red pepper.
- Place the combined pasta/sauce/cheese into a buttered 9x13 pan (I like to use my Le Crueset, presents better at the table).
- Top with remaining mozzarella slices and parmesan cheese.
- Bake in a 400°F oven for 45 minutes until the pasta is bubbly and the cheese is golden brown.