You can substitute penne for the ziti. Do not use fat-free mozzarella here.

Serves 4


  • 1 1/2 pounds grape tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 12 ounces (3 3/4 cups) ziti
  • 3 cups water, plus extra, as needed
  • 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped, fresh basil
  • 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (1 cup)


    Adjust oven rack to 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Heat 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes. Toss tomatoes with oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Add tomatoes to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly charred and blistered, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic, tomato paste and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Off-heat, coarsely mash tomatoes using potato masher.

    Stir in pasta and water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to a vigorous simmer, cover and cook, stirring often, until pasta is tender, about 15 to 18 minutes.

    Stir in Parmesan and adjust sauce consistency with extra-hot water, as needed. Stir in basil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Transfer skillet to oven and broil until cheese is melted and a spotty brown, about 5 minutes. Serve.

    From Cook It in Cast Iron (Cook's Country).

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