Because it's baked, this pasta takes a bit longer from kitchen to table than other dishes in this book. You'll find the preparation time, though, is just as short as that of any other recipe here.
This boldly flavored dish needs a rustic red wine to stand up to it. A Salice Salentino from the south of Italy or a Corbières or Cahors from France will pair well.
- 1/2 pound ziti
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 1/2 cups grated, packaged mouncezarella cheese
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup store-bought or homemade pesto
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Oil an 8-by-8-inch baking dish.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta for 7 minutes. It will be partially cooked. Drain. Rinse with cold water and drain again thoroughly.
In a medium saucepan, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, salt, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer over moderate heat and cook until very thick, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Remove the bay leaf.
In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, 1 cup of the mozzarella, about half the Parmesan, the pesto and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Put half of the cooked pasta into the prepared baking dish and top with about a third of the tomato sauce. Spread the ricotta mixture on the sauce in an even layer. Cover with the remaining pasta and then the remaining sauce. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and the remaining Parmesan. Drizzle with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil. Bake until bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes before cutting.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Food and Wine. All rights reserved.
nutrition information per serving
620 calories; 30g total fat; 53mg cholesterol; 778mg sodium; 55g carbohydrates; 3g fiber; 33g protein
These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.
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