Baked Ziti with Cherry Tomatoes

I didn’t feel like going to the store tonight, so dinner was based strictly on what I had at home.  After a quick scan of my fridge and pantry, I settled on baked ziti.  I had no ricotta, so it’s not your typical baked ziti.  I also noticed that I had a container of cherry tomatoes, so I decided to incorporate them into the dish.  I’m so glad that I did because they added bursts of great flavor!

Start by gathering all your ingredients (ziti, crushed tomato, s&p, crushed red pepper flakes, dried basil & oregano)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Boil water in a large pot for the pasta.  Once boiling, season with salt and add the pasta.  Cook according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, work on the tomato topping and the sauce…

  • Heat a couple of tablespoons of EVOO in a skillet over medium-high heat.

  • Chop several cloves of garlic.

  • Add the garlic to the EVOO and sauté until golden, about 1 minute.  (Be careful not to burn the garlic!  Keep your eye on it!)

  • Slice 1 package of cherry tomatoes in half.
  • Add the tomatoes to the garlic.

  • Season with s&p, and sauté until the tomatoes start to pop.

  • Once the tomatoes are finished, remove them with a slotted spoon.  (Try to keep most of the garlic and EVOO in the skillet.)  Reserve the tomatoes in a bowl.

  • Add 1 large can of c ruched tomatoes to the garlic.

  • Season with s&p, crushed red pepper flake, dried oregano, and dried basil.

  • Stir to combine, lower the heat, and simmer until the pasta is ready.
  • Just before the pasta is done, add about 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese.

  • Stir to incorporate the cheese.

  • Add the cooked pasta to the sauce.

  • Stir to coat all of the pasta in sauce.

  • Add about 1 cup of shredded mozzarella.

  • Mix well to combine and melt the cheese.

  • Transfer the pasta to a 9” by 12” baking dish.

  • Evenly distribute the cherry tomatoes on to of the pasta.

  • Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.

  • Add about 1 more cup of shredded mozzarella to the top.

  • Bake at 375 degrees until the cheese on top is melted, about 15-20 minutes.

Enjoy!


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