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This sauce has a secret ingredient, grape or currant jelly, that's right, jelly! I use the unsweetened kind, I find the fruit takes the acidity out of the tomatoes.
- 1 lb dried ziti pasta
- kosher salt
- 3 1⁄2 cups quick tomato sauce
- 1 lb fresh mozzarella cheese, half cut into 1/2-inch cubes and half thinly sliced
- 3⁄4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, divided
- 1⁄2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
QUICK TOMATO SAUCE
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1⁄2 lb sweet Italian sausage, casing removed and crumbled
- 1⁄2 lb hot Italian sausage, casing removed and crumbled
- 1⁄2 medium onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 3 1⁄2 cups canned tomatoes (whole, peeled in puree & roughly chopped)
- italian seasoning
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- 1⁄2 cup grape jelly (unsweetened) or 1⁄2 cup currant jelly (unsweetened)
- QUICK TOMATO SAUCE:
- Make this first; heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Cook the sausages until begining to brown, about 3 minutes.
- Add the onion and garlic, stirring, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes more.
- Add the tomatoes, thyme and jelly or preserves and bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
- Remove and sicard the sprig of thyme.
- Stir in the seasoning and season with pepper, to taste.
- Use now or store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 dayse or freeze up to 2 months. The yield is 5 cups.
- Preheat oven to 400ºF.
- Cook the ziti according to pkg directions.
- Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce, cubed mozzarella, half of the Parmesan cheese, black pepper and red pepper flakes.
- Transfer the pasta to an oiled 9x13" baking dish.
- Cover the top of the pasta with the sliced mozzarella, and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan.
- Bake until lightly browned and hot, about 30 minutes.
- Serve at once.