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Recipe Thursday-Spicy Baked Macaroni with Fresh Mozzarella, Kale and Mushrooms

Posted on February 28th, 2013 | Posted in Casserole, Main Course, Recipes

I created this recipe, Spicy Baked Macaroni with Fresh Mozzarella, Kale and Mushrooms, when my father gave me a nice ball of fresh mozzarella and fresh basil! I had been wanting to make a baked ziti so this ended up being the perfect opportunity to make a similar dish. I ended up not having ziti cut pasta in my pantry so macaroni was the substitute. This is a very simple recipe that allows you to get creative with ingredients. If you do not have one of the veggies that I used look in your fridge or freezer to see if there are any other similar veggies or meats. Sliced pepperoni and Italian sausage are always nice additions to baked ziti. Enjoy!

Spicy Baked Macaroni with Fresh Mozzarella, Kale and Mushrooms

Baked Ziti-Hometown Provisions

Yield 4 Servings
Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil (992055)
3 medium cloves garlic, minced or grated with a microplane (about 1 tablepoon) (991057)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (CQP100)
30 ounces tomato sauce (990319)
1 pound mushorooms, rinsed and sliced (1/4″)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (CQS030/CQP071)
1 ½ cup chicken broth (331101)
3 cups kale, chopped
3 cups uncooked macaroni (991566)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (LCF701)
1/4 cup Maggio ricotta (HPH203)
1 cup fresh mozzarella, grated (775757)
½ cup picked fresh basil leaves, cut into strips

Method
Adjust oven rack to center position and treheat the oven to 400°F.

Heat the oil in an oven-safe 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and chili flakes and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant but not browned, about 30 seconds. Add the tomato sauce, mushrooms and a pinch salt and reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, until the sauce has thickened and the mushrooms have cooked slightly, about 10 minutes. Add broth and kale and bring to a gentle simmer.

Add the pasta and cover. Raise the heat to medium, making sure there are active and vigorous bubbles. Cook, stirring occasionally to make sure the pasta is not sticking and cook until the pasta is just firm, following package directions for timing (12 to 15 minutes).

Remove lid, season to taste with salt and pepper, stir in the parmesan and ricotta, and spread the mozzarella on top (a few stray chunks of mozzarella never hurt). Transfer to oven and bake until cheese has melted and is starting to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Top with basil and serve.

Recipe from the Kitchen of Kristy Mellinger

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