Herby Pepperoni and Mushroom Baked Pasta

Load this pepperoni-packed pasta with creminis and a basil-and-parsley tomato sauce.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 5 min
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: 6
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Ingredients

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

Two 28-ounce cans plum tomatoes, crushed by hand

1 cup chopped fresh basil

1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound dried ziti

1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 cup chopped pepperoni

3 cups shredded mozzarella

1 cup grated Pecorino

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. 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 the tomatoes and 1 cup of water. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat slightly, add the basil sprigs and simmer rapidly, uncovered, until thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Discard basil and stir in the chopped basil and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. While the sauce simmers, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the pepperoni and cook, stirring occasionally, until it starts to crisp, about 2 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 instructs. Drain the pasta and add it to the large bowl.
  5. Add the tomato sauce, half each of the mozzarella and the Pecorino to the bowl and stir well to combine. Transfer the pasta-mushroom mixture to a 3- to 4-quart baking dish and top with the remaining mozzarella and Pecorino. Bake, uncovered, until browned, about 15 minutes. Let the pasta rest about 10 minutes before serving.