Skillet Baked Ziti

Happy Monday!! I hope that everyone had a restful weekend. Mine was certainly nice! I spent part of the weekend with my niece enjoying free slurpees! And now I have a great and yummy Monday recipe for ya – from Our Best Bites, skillet baked ziti.

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I was a little worried about my fry pan going into the oven, but it still worked well: AKA tasted good, no fires, and no ruined pan. Score!

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So I used regular ground pork (from my brother’s farm!), however you can use the sausage requested, or even ground turkey, beef, or possibly chicken! I also used tomato sauce instead of the tomatoes, since I don’t like the chunks, but to each their own.

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My husband LOVED this ziti. He said it was similar to how his mom and even grandma made it (read: Italians), minus the skillet part. We gobbled up a ton right away but thankfully still had leftovers for each of us. Yum!!

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Skillet Baked Ziti

serves 4-6

Ingredients:
-1lb Italian sausage or Italian turkey sausage (“hot” or “sweet”)
-1 (28oz) can whole peeled tomatoes
-1tbsp olive oil
-6 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed (about 2tbsp)
-1/4tsp red pepper flakes
-Salt
-3cu water
-12oz ziti pasta
-1/2cu heavy cream
-1oz Parmesan cheese, grated
-1/4cu chopped fresh basil leaves (fresh is best, but it is ok to add a heaping tablespoon of dried if necessary)
-ground black pepper
-4oz mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions:
-Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 475 degrees.
-Pulse the tomatoes with their juice in a food processor until coarsely ground and no large pieces remain (or just use sauce).
Heat 12-inch or larger oven-safe skillet to medium high heat and add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Remove the sausage from castings and cook, crumbling with a spatula until browned and cooked through, about 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes to sausage and cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Stir in the processed tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt (omit salt if using sauce). Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes no longer taste raw, about 10 minutes.
-Stir in the water, then add the pasta. Cover, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring often and adjusting the heat to maintain a vigorous simmer, until the pasta is tender, about 15-18 minutes.
-Stir in the cream, Parmesan, and basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the mozzarella evenly over the top. -Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the cheese has melted and browned, 10-15 minutes, then serve.

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