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Ziti al Telefono

The term, “al telefono” in Italian means the strings of melted cheese one can see when pulling from a dish. The strings of cheese resemble “telephone wires”.
baked ziti
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
  • 1 pound good quality ground beef
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 12 crimini mushrooms, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon pasted garlic
  • 1 28-ounce can peeled tomatoes (recommend San Marzano), with liquid
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pound ziti or other large cut pasta
  • 1 pound mozzarella, grated or chopped
  • Olive oil or butter as needed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan)
  • Bring large pot of water to boil; salt it. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Distribute meat in large skillet, season with salt and pepper, ¬†over medium high heat and cook, undisturbed, until browned on one side, about 5 minutes. Stir, cook another 2 minutes undisturbed, then add the onion and other vegetables cooking until all are tender.
  • Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, stirring until incorporated and fragrant.
  • Add the tomatoes breaking them up with a spoon.
  • Add cream and butter and mix until incorporated.
  • Gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened.¬†Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper; do not let sauce become too thick.
  • Cook pasta until just tender; it should still be too hard to eat. Drain it (do not shake the colander; allow some water to cling to the noodles) then put the pasta into a large bowl.
  • Toss it with the sauce and half the mozzarella.
  • Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and spoon mixture into it. Top with remaining mozzarella and the Pecorino Romano. Bake until top is browned and cheese bubbly, 20 to 30 minutes.

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