Monday, August 25, 2008

Single Skillet Baked Ziti

Last Friday my students turned in their ten-page autobiographies, so this weekend I was faced with reading over 650 pages of student writing. There were stories that made me laugh, stories that made me cry, and stories that had me scratching my head. Although reading the autobiographies was time consuming, the experience made me feel blessed to be a teacher. Today I allowed students to quiz me over their autobiographies. I felt like I was facing a firing squad, but I held my own and correctly answered almost 80 percent of their questions.

After working so hard this weekend, I wanted to cook something that wasn't time consuming; I found it as I watched baked ziti being prepared in a single skillet on PBS's America's Test Kitchen. This recipe exceeded my expectations. I'm amazed that something that required so little effort achieved such a rich flavor. This recipe will be a staple in our household. I didn't take any pictures, but I'll do it the next time I prepare this dish.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3-6 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups of water
  • 12 ounces ziti
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese

NOTE: Make sure you use an oven-proof skillet for this recipe.
  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
  2. Add the olive oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper to a cold skillet. Heat skillet to medium-high heat.
  3. When the garlic becomes fragrant, add the can of crushed tomatoes, the water, salt, pepper, and sugar.
  4. Add pasta and cover. Lower heat to medium-low. Cook for 10-12 minutes until pasta is cooked to your liking.
  5. Once the pasta is cooked, add the basil and half & half. At this point the sauce might seem a little runny, but it will thicken in the oven.
  6. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top of the ziti. Place the skillet in the oven, and cook the ziti until the cheese gets nice and brown. This should take about 10 minutes or so.
  7. Serve and enjoy.


Fawn said...

I tried to leave you a nice little message earlier and I got sucked into creating my own blog. Yeesh. I just wanted to thank you for the recipe, I too watched the show yesterday and am making it tonight. Thanks for making it easy to obtain the recipe that that stinkin Test Kitchen refused to kick down.
Thanks and much happy eating,

Fawn Rich

shweetpotato said...

This looks delicious, do you think I could use cheddar cheese instead of mozzerella? Carm