Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sausage and Pepper Baked Ziti

(makes 2 - one for now, one for the freezer)


1 pound(s) sweet and/or hot Italian sausage links, casings removed
4 clove(s) garlic, crushed with press
2 large red, green, and/or yellow peppers, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 (1-pound) jumbo onion, cut in half, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
1 pound(s) sliced white mushrooms
1 can(s) (28-ounce) whole tomatoes in puree
1 can(s) (15-ounce) tomato puree
1 teaspoon(s) salt
1 pound(s) ziti or penne pasta
1 package(s) (8-ounce) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup(s) freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese


In deep 12-inch nonstick skillet, cook sausage on medium 10 minutes or until browned, stirring and breaking it up with side of spoon. With slotted spoon, transfer sausage to medium bowl.
In drippings in skillet, cook garlic, peppers, onion, and mushrooms, covered, 10 minutes. Uncover and cook 8 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender and most of liquid has evaporated. Stir in tomatoes, tomato puree, and salt; heat to boiling on medium-high, stirring and breaking up tomatoes with side of spoon. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook sauce 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions, but cook 2 minutes less than recommended cooking time.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water. Drain pasta. Return pasta and reserved cooking water to pot; stir in tomato sauce to coat pasta. Add mozzarella and reserved sausage; toss to combine. Divide mixture evenly between 2 shallow ungreased 2 1/2-quart ceramic baking dishes. Sprinkle with Romano cheese.
Bake one casserole 20 to 25 minutes or until top browns and sauce is bubbling. Let stand 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare second casserole for freezing.


To reheat after thawing 24 hours:

Conventional oven: Heat, loosely covered, at 350 degrees F 1 hour; uncover and heat 30 minutes longer.

Microwave oven: Heat, covered, on Low (30 percent) 35 minutes, then on High 15 minutes longer

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