Sunday, December 2, 2012

Easy Baked Pasta

So, the other night I was seriously craving a pasta casserole. I was over the turkey sandwich and yogurt dinners and decided to make something outrageously delicious.  While the recipe I chose didn't knock my socks off, it was good, quick, and easy...which means it goes into the working professionals arsenal of go-to recipes.  Part of the reason I went with this particular version is because it didn't require too many random ingredients I wouldn't typically have around.  I'm also not one for crazy combos and usually prefer simple to the more exotic cuisine.

Modifications: Since I already had a jar of pasta sauce on hand I used it, however I added onions and meat to make it a little heartier (and more palatable to the meat lovers in my family).  I also only added the mozzarella to half of the dish since I'm not a huge fan of melted cheese.  Served with yummy garlic bread, this made the perfect dinner for a chilly (and rainy!) Friday evening.

  • 1 pound rigatoni (or whatever tube shape you have)
  • 1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 jar tomato sauce

  • Instructions
  1. Cook the rigatoni in a pot of boiling, salted water. Cook according to the package directions, but drain when the pasta still has some bite to it, maybe 2 minutes before the end of the cooking time. It is also going to cook in the oven, you do not want your pasta to be overcooked. Reserve a little cooking water.
  2. Mix together the ricotta cheese, garlic, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, and 1/4 cup parsley. The rest of the cheese and parsley will be used for the top.
  3. Season well with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the ricotta cheese mixture and half of the tomato sauce to the pot.
  5. Mix until it coats all of the pasta. If it is too thick, add a bit of the pasta water to thin it out.
  6. Spread the pasta evenly into a 9×13 casserole dish.
  7. Spread the rest of the pasta sauce over the top.
  8. Add the mozzarella cheese, remaining Parmesan, and remaining parsley to the top.
  9. Cover with foil and put the baked ziti in the fridge until you are ready to bake it off. Or cook it in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes covered with tin foil. Take the tin foil off and cook for another 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
  10. Let the pan sit for at least 10 minutes before you cut it.

(Be very, very grateful I didn't post the photo of the was a MESS!!!!)

1 comment:

Christina said...

That sounds delicious! Reminds me of the stuffed shells, but easier. The parsley on top is a nice touch!