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Location: Texas, United States

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Baked Ziti Arrabiata

If you're making this for young children, I'd suggest using only half of the crushed red pepper.  Evan had to cover his with cottage cheese and sour cream in order to eat it.  Surprisingly, Martina ate it as is.

1/4 cup olive oil, divided, plus more for brushing
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper, divided
1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes, smooshed with your hands, juices reserved
kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups whole milk (I used 1%, and it could have been thicker.)
1 1/2 pounds ziti (I used a little less than a pound and didn't realize this called for 1 1/2 pounds...I guess it could have been less saucy...)
1/2 pound mozzarella cheese cut into cubes (I used shredded)
1 cup grated Parmesan, divided
1 cup coarse bread crumbs

1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering.
2. Add the garlic and 1 teaspoon of the crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, just a minute or so.
(Have all your ingredients ready.  I burned the garlic while I was looking for the crushed red pepper and had to start over at this point.)
3. Add the tomatoes, their juice, a very large pinch of salt, turn the heat to high, and boil.
4. Lower heat and simmer 10 minutes, until slightly thickened.  Set aside to cool.
5. Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. (I let it get a tiny bit brown before adding the flour.)
6.  Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, until a smooth paste the palest shade of brown forms, about 2 minutes.
7.  While whisking constantly, slowly pour in the milk.
8.  Bring the sauce to a boil, and cook, stirring, until it is nice and thick, about 5 minutes.
9.  Turn off heat and season bechamel to taste with salt and nutmeg.  Set aside.
10.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Brush 9X13 pan with olive oil.
11.  Boil pasta.  You might need to pots.  Add ziti and cook it 3 minutes short of the package instructions so it doesn't overcook in oven.
12.  Drain pasta.  Transfer to a large bowl.  Add reserved tomato sauce, bechamel, mozzarella, and 3/4 cup Parmesan.
13,  Transfer to prepared baking dish.  Scatter remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan over top.
14.  Toss bread crumbs with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt.
15.  Scatter over ziti, then sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (I left this out) and a pinch of nutmeg.
16.  Bake until bubbling and top is browned, about 15 minutes.  Let pasta rest 10 minutes before serving.



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