Even though I’m back to calorie counting, I just love a good, comforting meal sometimes. I try to limit my splurges to one splurge meal per week, eating something I normally wouldn’t want to admit to MyFitnessPal :-). I made this dish for the first time last fall, and I was shocked at how flavorful it was for being a fairly simple recipe. I ended up making two batches of this ziti, one for us and one for my dear friend, who had just had a baby. She and her husband absolutely loved the dish, as well and ended up asking for the recipe! I consider that the biggest compliment of all!
This dish is a dream for clean-up…you make everything in the skillet from start to finish. I ended up making this in a braiser pan, and it worked just fine. This also makes a good bit of food…we had leftovers for a couple of days between my husband and I (and we totally went for seconds the first night). It was SO good, and I shouldn’t be surprised…it was from America’s Test Kitchen, and also, one of my favorite bloggers, Pink Parsley, blogged about it before (which is where I originally read about the recipe first).
- 1 lb. sweet or hot Italian sausage, casings removed
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
- 3 cups water
- 12 oz. ziti
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 4 oz. (about 1 cup) freshly grated mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. In a 12-inch oven-safe skillet (I used a 3 1/2 qt. braiser pan), brown the sausage over medium-high heat, breaking up the large pieces with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink (about 4 minutes). Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes, cooking for about a minute (until fragrant). Add in the crushed tomatoes, as well as 1/2 tsp. of kosher salt. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer everything gently for 8-10 minutes.
- Add in the water and ziti, then carefully stir everything to combine. Cover the pan, increase the heat to medium, and cook at a simmer, stirring often for about 15-18 minutes, until the pasta is just tender/al dente in texture.
- Remove the mixture from heat, and stir in the cream, 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, and 3 tbsp. of basil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle in the mozzarella, as well as the remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan on top of the pasta. Transfer the pan to the oven, and bake until the cheese has melted/browned, and the sauce is bubbling (about 10-15 minutes). Before serving, sprinkle with the remaining tbsp. of basil. Enjoy!