First up from my new cookbook is baked ziti. Actually, mine is baked penne because Kroger didn’t have any whole wheat ziti. Same idea. This was my first time trying chicken sausage (I’m generally not a fan of anything related to or shaped like a hot dog) as well as whole wheat pasta. I did have a little flub in that I wrote “tomato paste” on my grocery list when I actually needed tomato puree. Oops. I watered it down and I think it was comparable, but next time I’ll follow directions.
10 oz. whole wheat ziti
2 pre-cooked chicken sausage links, casings removed
1 onion chopped (I used half of a large one)
1 Tb. minced garlic
1 t. red pepper flakes
28 oz. can tomato puree
Fresh basil (I used dried)
3/4 c. mozzarella cheese, cubed (fresh, preferably)
parmesan cheese (I used a fresh parmesan, asiago, romano blend)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta until a minute shy of being done (it’ll finish cooking in the oven).
Meanwhile, heat the EVOO in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage & cook for about 2 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the onion, garlic & pepper flakes and cook until the onion is soft & translucent. Stir in the tomato puree, plus a good pinch of salt & pepper. Reduce the heat & simmer for at least 10 mins.
Drain the pasta. Add to the skillet & toss with the sauce. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil & mozzarella. Dump the pasta into a 12″ x 9″ baking dish, sprinkle the top with a bit of parmesan & cover with foil. Bake for 15 minutes then remove the foil & bake for another 10 mins, until the top is crusty & browned. Garnish with basil & serve.
The cookbook compares this to Olive Garden’s Five Cheese Ziti al Forno which is $13.50, has 1,050 calories and 48 g of fat. This version, per the book, should only have 410 calories, 12 g of fat & 600 mg of sodium pet serving. Not bad.