My good friends Aaron and KJ made this for me once and I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Just a warning though, you cannot enjoy this recipe to its fullest potential of goodness unless Aaron is there to salt the water properly and put in the right combination of seasonings. You have been forwarned. But if you cannot have Aaron there it is still pretty incredible!
Dave didn't want me to get tomatoes on my white shirt so he made me an "apron" out of paper towels and tape...what a nice guy!
Dave adding the sliced cheese to the top
1 pound dried ziti pasta
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously, and boil the pasta until al dente, tender but still slightly firm. Drain. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta with the marinara sauce, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, the pecorino, and the cubed mozzarella pieces. Season with the black pepper and red pepper to taste, and mix until well combined. Transfer the pasta to an oiled 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Cover the top of the pasta with the sliced mozzarella, and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Bake until lightly browned and hot, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 medium onion, diced (about 3 tablespoons)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 14-oz cans of diced tomatoes
Sprig of fresh thyme and Sprig of fresh basil (chop these up....can use dried if thats all you have)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and garlic, stirring, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the herbs and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Stir in the salt and season with pepper to taste. Use now, or store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months. Yield: about 3 1/2 cups.
The finished product! Yum!