Burrata Baked Ziti

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Ingredients

1 pound ziti, or other short-cut pasta

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving

4 ounces pancetta, finely chopped

1/2 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage*

1/2 pound bulk hot Italian sausage*

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 of a small yellow onion, chopped

2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

large handful (about 1/2 cup) fresh basil, torn, plus extra for serving

24 ounces burrata, divided (three 8-ounce containers)

1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese, divided, plus extra for serving

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375℉. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Cook ziti until just a minute or so shy of al dente (it will continue to cook in the oven!). Drain and toss with a tiny bit of olive oil.


Heat olive oil in a large, oven-safe, deep skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Once hot, add the pancetta and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until golden brown and crispy. Remove from pan and let drain on paper towels, discarding any large, super fatty pieces.


Add both sausages, breaking apart with a spatula into small pieces, and cook for 6-7 minutes, until browned and cooked through. Add the garlic and onion, and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, watching so that the garlic doesn't burn.


Add the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, oregano, basil, thyme, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper and stir to combine. Add the pancetta back into the pot and stir. Bring to a rapid simmer, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if desired.


Add the basil and stir to combine. At this point, transfer sauce to a larger oven-safe baking dish or casserole if your skillet isn't large enough! Add the ziti, 8 ounces of the burrata, torn into pieces, and 1/2 cup of the parmesan and stir to combine. Spread ziti evenly into the skillet/casserole dish. Top the ziti with another 8 ounces of torn burrata and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of parmesan.


Bake for 25-30 minutes or until edges are golden brown and cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven and set your oven to broil. Broil the pasta for an addtional 2 minutes or so to get the top extra golden, if desired! Let cool for 10 minutes or so, then top with fresh basil. Portion into bowls, and serve with the remaining 8 ounces of torn burrata, extra fresh parmesan, and fresh basil. Drizzle with a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil to finish. Serve immediately!


Recipe Notes

*I like to use bulk pork sausage here for best flavor, but bulk chicken sausage will work here too!