Easy Skillet Baked Ziti With Sausage and Ricotta
Preparation time: 40 min
1 pound dry ziti, penne, or other tubular pasta
1 (28-ounce) can plus 1 (14-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock, or water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound sweet or hot Italian sausage, removed from casing
1 large onion, finely diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup finely minced fresh parsley leaves, divided
12 ounces high-quality ricotta cheese
1 pound low-moisture whole-milk mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 ounces roughly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided
1.Place pasta in a large bowl and cover with hot water. Season generously with salt. Let rest, stirring twice during the first 10 minutes, while you prepare the other ingredients.
2.Use a hand blender or countertop blender to process tomatoes until mostly smooth, but still a little chunky. Set aside 3/4 cup of tomatoes. Combine remaining tomatoes, heavy cream, and chicken stock in a medium bowl. Season to taste with salt and set aside.
3.Heat oil and butter in a large straight-sided sauté pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, swirling, until butter is mostly melted. Add sausage and cook, mashing with a potato masher or a whisk, until sausage is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add onion and garlic, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add oregano, red pepper flakes, and half of parsley and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
4.Add tomato and cream mixture to pan with sausage. Drain noodles in a large colander set in the sink, then add to pan and stir to combine. Stir in half of ricotta, then rapidly stir in half of mozzarella cheese. (Do not over-stir, or the mixture will stretch and stick to your spoon.) Spoon reserved 3/4 cup tomatoes over top of pasta. Dollop with remaining ricotta and scatter remaining mozzarella over top. Sprinkle with half of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Cover and cook over the lowest possible heat for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest, covered, for 5 minutes.
5.Uncover, sprinkle with remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano and parsley, and serve immediately.