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Baked Ziti with Sausage

Photo: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

 

Hands-on time 30 mins
Total time 55 mins
Yield

Makes 8 servings

Pancetta, or cured pork belly, is the same thing as bacon without the smoke. Find it in the deli case of most supermarkets. Native to Italy, San Marzano tomatoes are known for their sweet flavor. Consider trying them in place of regular crushed tomatoes in the sauce.

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces uncooked ziti pasta
  • 4 ounces pancetta or bacon, diced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 (1-lb.) package ground Italian sausage
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed torn fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 (8-oz.) package shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare ziti according to package directions for al dente.

  2. Meanwhile, cook pancetta in a large skillet over medium-high heat 3 minutes. Add onion and garlic, and sauté 3 minutes or until onion is tender. Add sausage, and sauté 5 minutes or until meat is no longer pink. Add wine, and cook 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and next 3 ingredients. Reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes.

  3. Stir ricotta and 1 cup mozzarella cheese into hot cooked pasta. Lightly grease a 13- x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Transfer pasta mixture to prepared dish, and top with sausage mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese.

  4. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen and Hog & Hominy, East Memphis, TN