This baked ziti recipe from Cook’s Country’s Cook It In Cast Iron, has the added bonus of being a one-pot wonder: after you crush the tomatoes with a potato masher (or whisk or spoon), you add the dried pasta and water directly into the pan and simmer everything together until the pasta is cooked and the liquid has evaporated.
After a quick pass under the broiler, your one-pan, no-fuss baked ziti is done: crisp noodles, melty cheese, bubbly sauce.
From Cook’s Illustrated Cook It In Cast Iron
- 1.5 pounds cherry tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 12 ounces (3.75 cups) ziti
- 3 cups water, plus more as needed
- 1o unce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (1 cup)
- Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Heat 12-inch cast-iron skillet (or other large oven-safe skillet) over medium heat for 5 minutes. Toss tomatoes with oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Add tomatoes to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly charred and blistered, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic, tomato paste, and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Off heat, coarsely mash tomatoes using potato masher.
- Stir in pasta and water and bring to boil over medium-high heat. (I add another teaspoon of kosher salt at this point, and more later, but if you are sensitive to salt, maybe start with 1/2 teaspoon.) Reduce heat to a vigorous simmer (low heat), stir well, cover, and cook, stirring every few minutes, until pasta is tender, 15 to 18 minutes.
- Stir in Parmesan and adjust sauce consistency with extra hot water as needed. Stir in basil. Taste—this is your chance to get the seasoning right. Add salt and pepper to taste (I add another 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and lots of fresh pepper). Sprinkle with mozzarella. Transfer skillet to oven and broil until cheese is melted and spotty brown, about 5 minutes. Serve.