Sunday, January 10, 2010

Baked Ziti

I got my new Williams Sonoma catalog (with the new d5 All Clad stuff inside!!!) in the mail last week. If you got it also, that means you got the incredible recipe for Baked Ziti on page ten. I took one look at it and knew I had to make it!

Baked Ziti (from Williams Sonoma)

4 tsp plus 1 tbsp olive oil
3/4 lb sweet Italian sausage, casings removed (I used the whole 1.25 lb package, because what am I going to do with 2 sausage links???)
1 small eggplant, cut into 1/2" cubes (there was one in my co-op basket this week! Fate!)
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced (I used six, because I really like garlic and generally double it in recipes)
1/2 cup dry red wine (I used some cheap Merlot I found at the Walmarts)
1 can (28oz) crushed plum tomatoes with juices (must find alternative for this, as canned tomatoes are not bueno)
5 oz ziti, cooked until al dente (I used slightly more than half a 16 oz box)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (also in my co-op basket!)
1/3 cup rinsed, chopped Kalamata olives (I left those out because I hate olives)
2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella (I only used 2 cups because that was all I had)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1. Position rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 400 degrees F. In a large frying pan over medium high heat, warm 2 tsp oil. Brown sausage 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Discard all but 1 tbsp of fat in the pan. Set over medium-high heat; warm with additional 2 tsp oil. Cook eggplant 6 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Set pan over medium heat; warm 1 tbsp oil. Cook onion 5 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic; cook one more minute. Add wine, increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits. Cook 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and juices; simmer ten minutes.

2. Add sausage pasta, basil, olives, 2 cups of mozzarella and tomato sauce to bowl with eggplant; stir to combine. Season with salt ad pepper to taste. Transfer to a large casserole dish that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and Parmigiano Reggiano over pasta. Cover and bake 25 minutes. Uncover, and bake at 500 degrees for an additional 5 minutes. Serves six.


* The recipe calls for you to cook everything in a nonstick pan, and then to bake it all in the same nonstick pan. I try to cook in Teflon as little as possible, because that stuff just isn't good for you, especially at high heat.

*The Walmarts only had a scary brand of ziti, so I used the rigatoni of my preferred brand.

*I thought that the ratio of pasta to meat in this dish was off. Maybe it was because I used extra sausage in it, who knows. Next time, I'll make the whole 1 lb box of pasta and then split it between two casserole dishes and just freeze the second one.

*I'm also wondering if I could add more veggies to this. Maybe some mushrooms and zucchini?

*I'm never going to be a real foodie because I don't like olives or wine. *sniff*

*This was my first time ever cooking eggplant. It was very similar to zucchini in this dish, as in it had no real flavor of it's own because it took on the flavors of the dish.

*A flat whisk is seriously the best tool ever for deglazing a pan and/or making gravy. I am very thankful to the Pioneer Woman for turning me on to this tool!

*We found that slightly undercooked pasta (like a minute or so shy of being al dente) gives you perfect pasta in the finished dish

*The baby LOVED this. He ate a LOT, including the eggplant. His extreme enjoyment of his meal earned him a trip straight to the bathtub after dinner!

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Blogger Hooptee said...

I will have to try this recipe. I tend to just use the one on the back of the San Georgio pasta (the red and blue box) and my own sauce, but this looks really yummie. But now that I read about not using canned tomatoes - how will I make my sauce!? eeekk! All this stuff that you shouldn't eat is so scary. And hard to keep up with.

8:01 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Haid said...

two things - I totally agreed with your comment on Whitney's Sandy post, and you are getting some slack for what you said, so I wanted to give you kudos.

I learned about Umami three years ago when we disected tongues in a physio class! How weird!!

7:31 PM  
Blogger Samara Link said...

Gonna print this up and make it for David sometime soon. Thanks for the share!

6:27 AM  

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