Cheesy Fennel and Sopressata Baked Ziti with Pecorino

Sopressata and fennel flavor this pasta that bakes up bubbly thanks to the pecorino, ricotta and mozzarella.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 5 min
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: 6
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Ingredients

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

One 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes, crushed by hand

One 15-ounce can whole plum tomatoes, crushed by hand

4 large sprigs basil

1 large head fennel, quartered, cored and thinly sliced

1 pound dried ziti

1/4 pound thinly sliced sopressata, cut into thin strips

3 cups shredded mozzarella

1 cup grated pecorino

1 cup fresh ricotta

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until the garlic is golden, about 2 minutes. Add both cans of tomatoes and 1 cup of water. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat slightly, add the basil and simmer rapidly, uncovered, until thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Discard the basil. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Cook the ziti in the salted boiling water until very al dente, about 2 minutes less than the package directions. Drain the pasta and add it to the bowl.
  5. Add the tomato sauce, sopressata and half of the mozzarella and pecorino to the bowl and stir well to combine. Transfer the pasta to a 3- to 4-quart baking dish and dollop with spoonfuls of ricotta. Top with the remaining mozzarella and pecorino. Bake, uncovered, until browned, about 15 minutes. Let the pasta stand about 10 minutes before serving.