Mom and Dad flew up to the rainy North yesterday. They saw Gram this morning, then Lisa, then me, then Lauren. Phew! The kids were a little nuts during our visit, but grandparents are pretty forgiving of that sort of thing. I wanted to serve something very un-Passover-like, so Italian food seemed like a good choice. I made an old favorite, Baked Ziti with Spinach and Tomatoes, which played to rave reviews (and second helpings). I always use chicken sausage from Whole Foods, so I add some oil when I brown it. Yum, yum, yum. I forgot to take a photo.
¾ lb. sausage, casings removed
1 medium onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 28-oz. can diced peeled tomatoes
¼ cup pesto sauce
10 oz. ziti (about 3 cups), freshly cooked
6 oz. fresh spinach leaves
6 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup (3 oz.) grated Parmesan cheese, divided use
Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly oil 13x9" glass baking dish; set aside. (Start boiling water for the ziti now too, while you're thinking of it.)
Heat oil in heavy large saucepan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage, onion, and garlic and sauté until sausage is cooked through, breaking up meat with back of spoon, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes with juices to pan. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Stir in pesto. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Combine cooked ziti, spinach, mozzarella, and ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese in large bowl (I use the same pot I just cooked the ziti in). Stir in hot tomato sauce. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish. Sprinkle remaining ⅔ cup Parmesan cheese over. Bake until sauce bubbles and cheeses melt, about 30 minutes.