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Skillet Ziti

This recipe comes from America's Test Kitchen (Cook's Illustrated). This is a perfect work night dinner, that uses only one pan and pantry items that you most likely have on hand (except for mozzarella cheese). I used fresh mozzarella, which melts to a perfect creamy texture. A little bit of heavy cream is added to the homemade sauce, which adds a little silky and extra creamy texture. I added fresh zucchini for some extra crunch. I think browned sausage could easily be added to this quick pasta dish, and it would be a hit!


1 tablespoon olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt & fresh ground pepper
1 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
3 cups water
12 ounces ziti pasta ( 3¾ cups)
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, minced
1 cup mozzarella cheese*, shredded
NOTE: I used fresh mozarella
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Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 475. Combine oil, garlic, pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in 12-inch ovensafe nonstick skillet and saute over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. (If your skillet is not ovensafe, transfer the pasta mixture into a shallow 2-quart casserole dish before sprinkling with the cheese and baking). Add crushed tomatoes, water, ziti and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook, stirring often and adjusting heat as needed to maintain vigorous simmer, until ziti is almost tender, 15-18 minutes. Stir in cream, Parmesan, and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over ziti. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until cheese has melted and browned, about 10 minutes. Serve.

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