ZITI WITH ARUGULA, PESTO AND SAUSAGE
TUESDAY ITALIAN NIGHT Serves 6 Time: 1 hour Plan Ahead: Prepare the Pesto Sauce a day ahead. ½ cup homemade pesto, or store bought.
- 2 teaspoons coarse salt (for boiling the pasta)
- 3 cups 11oz. ziti or penne pasta
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2½ Italian mild sausage links (about ½ pound, casings removed)
- ½ yellow onion (diced)
- 4 garlic cloves (minced)
- 2 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes with juice (crushed)
- Coarse salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 6 oz. fresh Mozzarella cheese (cubed)
- 1 cup fresh Parmesan cheese (grated, divided)
- 3 cups fresh arugula or spinach
- Prepare the pesto first if making homemade. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt. Add ziti or penne, stir and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to a rolling boil and cook for 11 min. Drain, saving 1/3 cup pasta water.
- While the pasta is cooking, prepare meat sauce. In a large saucepan over medium high heat add the olive oil, sausage, onion and garlic and sauté until the sausage is cooked through, about 10 min., breaking it up into pieces.
- Blend tomatoes and juice in a food processor or blender and add to the meat sauce. Simmer and stir for about 8 min. Stir in the pesto. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Preheat oven to 375°. In a large bowl combine the pasta, pasta water, sausage-tomato mixture, cubed mozzarella, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, and arugula. Mix.
- Grease a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with olive oil. Transfer meat/pasta mixture into the baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese over all. Bake until sauce bubbles and cheese melts, about 30 min.