America's Test Kitchen to the Rescue!!! They've found a way to make baked ziti in 30 minutes in only 1 pan!!!! I must admit I was skeptical, but the first time I made it I was a convert.
I made it again today, so here it is with pictures.
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 medium garlic cloves - minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
3 cups water
12 ounces (3 3/4 cups) ziti
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 oz Parmesan cheese grated (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
Ground black pepper
4 ounces whole milk mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
(It can be difficult to grate fresh mozzarella as it sticks to the box grater. If you spray the grater lightly with oil, it makes the job much easier)
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 475 degrees
2. Combine the oil, garlic, pepper flakes and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large OVEN SAFE nonstick skillet and saute over high heat for about 1 minute until fragrant.
3. Add the crushed tomatoes, water, ziti and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook stirring often and adjusting the heat to maintain a vigorous simmer, until the ziti is almost tender. (Check the cooking instructions for a time guide as they vary by company. I recommend DeCecco pasta for everything!!!!)
4. Stir in the cream, Parmesan and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the mozzarella evenly over the ziti. It will look really runny at this stage, but fear not my friends!
5. Put the skillet in the oven and bake until the cheese has melted and is browned, about 10 minutes. BE CAREFUL getting the skillet out of the oven, it is easy to forget that the pan is hot.