Saturday, February 14, 2009

Skillet Ziti Bake

I'm about to start a flurry of posts...with my hubby traveling this week, a nasty cold, and a toddler...well, no time. So enjoy my 4! Valentine's posts.

This recipe originated in The Best 30 Minute Recipe by America's Test Kitchen. I can't say enough about these folks and their cookbooks and magazine. In fact, every year, I just request Cook's Illustrated from my sister for Christmas.

After the potato leek soup of Sunday (which my child and I finished while my husband was out of town, yum!), I needed another recipe that called for cream, so as not to waste it. I remembered that several of the skillet pasta dishes in this cookbook called for cream (which is why I hadn't made them).

I perused the recipe and realized that I could make it with very few substitutions - diced tomatoes instead of crushed, dry basil instead of fresh, penne instead of ziti. I also get wigged out at the idea of putting my non-stick pans in the oven at 475F, even though they are rated for it. So we moved it to a casserole, which made it slightly more than 30 mins.

Also, I was ill so I got this started, hubby finished it.

Skillet Baked Penne
1 T olive oil: 0.11
5 cloves garlic, pressed: 0.25
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
2 14-oz cans diced tomatoes, pureed: 1.12
3 cups water
12 oz whole wheat penne: 0.84
1/2 cup heavy cream: 0.75
1/2 cup grated parmesan: 0.69
1 T. dried basil: 0.05
1 cup shredded mozzarella: 0.63
Total: $4.44 for about 7 servings, or $0.63 per serving.

Preheat oven to 475F.

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet. Saute garlic and pepper flakes until fragrant, about 1 min.

Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, water, dried basil, and penne. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer, covered, about 15 to 20 min, until penne is tender and water is absorbed. You'll need to stir it every few minutes. Stir in parmesan and cream when done.

Transfer penne to greased casserole dish. Top with mozzarella. Bake in oven until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 10 min.

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