TUESDAY ITALIAN NIGHT Serves 6 Time: 1 hour Plan Ahead: Prepare the Pesto Sauce a day ahead. ½ cup homemade pesto, or store bought.
Author the food nanny


  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt for boiling the pasta
  • 3 cups 11oz. ziti or penne pasta
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Italian mild sausage links about ½ pound, casings removed
  • ½ yellow onion diced
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes with juice crushed
  • Coarse salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 6 oz. fresh Mozzarella cheese cubed
  • 1 cup fresh Parmesan cheese grated, divided
  • 3 cups fresh arugula or spinach


  • Prepare the pesto first if making homemade. Set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt. Add ziti or penne, stir and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to a rolling boil and cook for 11 min. Drain, saving 1/3 cup pasta water.
  • While the pasta is cooking, prepare meat sauce. In a large saucepan over medium high heat add the olive oil, sausage, onion and garlic and sauté until the sausage is cooked through, about 10 min., breaking it up into pieces.
  • Blend tomatoes and juice in a food processor or blender and add to the meat sauce. Simmer and stir for about 8 min. Stir in the pesto. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Preheat oven to 375°. In a large bowl combine the pasta, pasta water, sausage-tomato mixture, cubed mozzarella, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, and arugula. Mix.
  • Grease a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with olive oil. Transfer meat/pasta mixture into the baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese over all. Bake until sauce bubbles and cheese melts, about 30 min.

Serve with: Everyday Artisan Bread or French Baguettes.


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