Ziti with Arugula, Pesto and Sausage
The Food Nanny
- 2 teaspoons coarse salt for boiling the pasta
- 3 cups 11oz. ziti or penne pasta
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 ½ 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.
Serve with: Everyday Artisan Bread or French Baguettes.