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.
Serve with: Everyday Artisan Bread or French Baguettes.