Wednesday, February 10, 2016

sausage baked ziti

For Fat Tuesday, we had one of our favorite ultra-fattening meals:  sausage baked ziti! My sister found the recipe a few years ago and it's a mega-favorite with the fam. We even stayed an extra day in Savannah this past Christmas so that Drew could have his fix (among other reasons... admittedly, an extra day at the beach was also a draw). 

Since I have T1D we don't indulge near as much as we used to, but this is definitely a favorite for making new parents, sick friends, bringing over to parties, etc. Kids love it, you can make it as spicy as you want (just add more red pepper and use spicy sausage for a kick!), and who doesn't love flavorful cheese + meat + pasta?

Couple of sidenotes:  I love the Parmesan (it's lasted me at least 5 months!) and mozzarella from Costco. Cheap cheese? Sign me up, bro! We use hot Tennessee Pride sausage and BotaBox Redvolution wine (which is also what I drink as an accompaniment to bring down my high blood sugar from all the pasta, too!).

Skillet Sausage Baked Ziti
adapted from 

2 (15-oz) can diced tomatoes
1 lb Italian sausage (hot), casings removed
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups water
12 oz ziti
1/2 cup red wine
1 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 chopped fresh basil
4 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 475 F.
Set a 12-inch skillet over medium heat and add the sausage. Cook until the sausage is no longer pink, using a wooden spoon to break the sausage up and stir occasionally. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook just until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and the salt (if you’re not using a nonstick pan, now is a good time to scrape the bottom of the pan to release the browned bits). Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the mixture to simmer gently for about 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes don’t taste raw anymore.
Add the water and pasta to the pan (the pan will probably be quite full, just stir gently to prevent overflow). Cover the pan and turn the heat up to medium to medium-high (adjust as necessary to maintain a vigorous simmer). Cook, stirring frequently to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan, for about 15 minutes, or until the pasta is tender. The pasta will not have absorbed all the liquid in the pan.
Add the wine, Parmesan cheese, and basil to the pan. Stir to incorporate, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Top the pasta with the mozzarella cheese then transfer the pan to the oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and browned.


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