Ziti pasta nestled in cheese and Italian sausage under a blanket of bright tomato sauce and fresh basil.
- 1 pound Italian sausage
- 1 pound whole milk cottage cheese
- 2 large eggs , lightly beaten
- 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
- 3/4 pound ziti , or other short tubular pasta
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic cloves , minced
- 28 ounces tomato sauce
- 14 1/2 ounces diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon coconut palm sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 cup heavy cream (see note)
- 8 ounces whole-milk mozzarella cheese , cut into 1/4-inch pieces, (about 1 1/2 cups)
- Heat oven to 350°F. Brown sausage; drain on paper towel and set aside. Whisk cottage cheese, eggs, and 1 cup Parmesan together in medium bowl; set aside. Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in large pot over high heat. Stir in 2 tsp. salt and pasta; cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta begins to soften but is not yet cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain pasta and leave in colander (leave pot unwashed).
- Meanwhile, heat oil and garlic in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until garlic is fragrant but not brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and oregano; simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Off heat, stir in ½ cup basil and sugar, then season with salt and pepper.
- Stir cornstarch into heavy cream in small bowl; transfer mixture to now-empty pasta pot and bring to a simmer. Cook until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove pot from heat and add cottage cheese mixture, 1 cup tomato sauce, and ¾ cup mozzarella, then stir to combine. Add pasta and sausage; stir to coat well.
- Transfer pasta mixture to 13x9-inch baking dish and spread remaining tomato sauce evenly over pasta. Sprinkle remaining ¾ cup mozzarella and remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan over top. Cover baking dish tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove foil and continue to cook until cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown, about 30 minutes longer. Cool for 20 minutes and serve.