If your family is anything like mine, you will always appreciate a good pasta recipe. It appeals to adults and kids alike. This one is a gem. I think my hubby saw it on Rachael Ray and wanted me to give it a try. Are we glad we did! It is so fresh and springy, which is unusual for a baked pasta dish. There is something magical about the combination of fresh basil, tomatoes, and fresh mozarella.
Scuderi Fast Fake-Baked Ziti
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
28 oz. can whole tomatoes
14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
Handful of fresh basil leaves, rinsed, patted dry, and torn
1 lb. box of ziti rigate or penne pasta
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
Freshly ground black pepper
Generous grating of nutmeg
2 cups whole milk
1/2 C. Asiago cheese, grated
1/2 C. Parmesano-Reggiano cheese, grated
1 C. sliced fresh mozarella
Note: I never spend the money for all of the cheeses, I buy the grated parmesan blend and the fresh mozarella, and it is wonderful.
Boil pasta water.
Chop whole tomatoes. Heat oil in medium saucepan, add garlic and saute for about 1 minute, watch it carefully, or it will burn. Add chopped tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, and salt to pan. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add basil and simmer 10 minutes more.
Cook pasta according to directions, until Al Dente.
While pasta is cooking, melt butter in medium saucepan. Whisk in flour and stir to cook for one minute, adding salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Whisk in milk. Cook until bubbly and reduce for about 5 minutes until thick.
Drain pasta. Put in 9 x 13 casserole dish. Pour tomato sauce over pasta and turn to coat. Pour bechamel over already coated pasta. Top with Grated cheeses, then sliced mozarella. Place under hot broiler until cheese is browning and bubbly, 3-5 minutes.
Adapted from: Rachael Ray