Saturday, November 5, 2011

Skillet Baked Ziti

I love baked pasta dishes, the cheesier the better.  My husband, on the other hand, generally doesn't like baked pasta.  He can't take it when there are pieces of hard pasta--hitting a piece of it turns him off to the whole dish.  Nevertheless, I went for it when I saw that Cook's Illustrated had a skillet AND baked version of ziti.

It was farking awesome.  It was so fast, so easy, and tasted almost like something you'd get from your local pizza shop.  No hard pasta either, my husband (and my sons) loved it just as much as I did.


Skillet Baked Ziti Source:  The Best 30 Minute Recipe Cook's Illustrated, page 140, via Right in Front of Me

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Table salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups water
  • 12 oz. ziti (3 3/4 cups) *
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Combine oil, garlic, pepper flakes, and 1/2 tsp. salt in 12-inch ovensafe nonstick skillet and sauté over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add tomatoes, water, ziti, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cover and cook, stirring often and adjusting heat as needed to maintain a vigorous simmer, until ziti is almost tender, 15 to 18 minutes. (Note: this is a good time to grate your Parmesan and prep your basil.)
Stir in cream, Parmesan, and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over ziti. Transfer skillet to oven and bake at 475° until cheese has melted and browned, about 10 minutes.
(Note: if your 12-inch skillet isn’t ovensafe, you can transfer the pasta to a 2-quart casserole dish before sprinkling with mozzarella and baking.)

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