or…translated in my very rough food related Italian…Fusilli macaroni with tomatoes and mozzarella 🙂
This is my twist on the traditional baked zita, it has a freshness and heartiness to it that is so welcome after a winter canned tomatoes and store bought onions. We used the first sweet onions and plum and heirloom tomatoes from the garden….so sweet and delicious.
This recipe is for a good sized single pan.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 sweet onion chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 sweet red pepper
- 4 lbs ripe plum tomatoes or 4 14 ounce cans of plum tomatoes (I like San Marzano’s)
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano
- tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
- 1 cup Chianti or a good red of your choice
- 1 lb fusilli
- 3 cups Parmigiano Reggiano grated
- 2 lbs fresh Mozzarella torn
Preheat your oven to 375 and put your pot of salted water on to boil.
- add about a 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, your onion, garlic, pepper and cook slowly for about 10 minutes on a medium to low heat until softened, do not brown.
- If you’re using fresh tomatoes, remove the core and plop them into the boiling water for about a minute until their skins blister, remove them gently with a slotted spoon into a bowl and run some cool water gently over them. You’ll want to remove your onion and pepper form the heat now.
- With the skins form the tomatoes removed, give them squeeze to remove the seeds and chop them up. Add them to your pan with the onions, garlic and peppers, add the wine, the herbs sans basil. If you are using canned tomatoes…this is where you come in. Add the tomatoes to the pan 🙂
- Bring to the boil and simmer for around 20 minutes. You’ll be cooking pasta at this time too.
- Remove the sauce from the heat and either pulse it in the food processor or blender or use a stick blender righ tint he pan (that’s what I do) to make a loose sauce.
- Add s and p to taste and tear your basil into the sauce.
- You pasta should be drained and ready at this point so you can add it to your sauce
- Now, you can do one of two things…mix the pasta, sauce and cheeses all together in a lightly oiled pan and bake…or you can layer…a layer of pasta/sauce, then cheese then pasta/sauce. When I have time I layer 🙂
- Place your pan in the oven and heat until the cheese bubbles…DO NOT brown the cheese, mozzarella should never be browned…just melted and gooey.