Chewy and flavorful–this recipe, from presentation to final bite, disappoints no one. Click here for the pesto recipe.
Add 3-5 chopped Italian sausage to take this side pasta dish to a main entree. Adding pine nuts, basil, and fresh mozzarella pearls makes a chewy texture and a real comfort food to serve.
- 1 lb. ziti pasta (mostaccioli or other pasta can substitute)
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 C canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree
- ¼ t salt
- ½ t freshly ground pepper
- 1 ½ C ricotta cheese
- 3 C mozzarella cheese OR 2 C shredded and 1 ball of fresh mozza pearls
- ½ – 1 C pesto
- ½ C Parmesan cheese
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Oil an 8X8 oven dish.
Cook the ziti for 7 minutes (partially cooked). Drain.
In a medium saucepan, heat 1 ½ T of the oil and cook the onion and garlic until softened. Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes or while the pasta cooks.
In a small bowl, blend the ricotta, 2 C shredded mozzarella, pesto, and ¼ C parmesan cheese. Add pepper to taste.
Put half the ziti in the baking dish and top with the tomato sauce. Spread the cheese/pesto mixture on top of the layer. Add another layer of pasta, sauce and then the remaining mozzarella (pearls or shredded) and ¼ C parmesan.
Bake for 30 minutes, remove and set 10 minutes before serving.