Monday, February 6, 2012

Pasta Bake

My culinary experience (very little) has me inspired me to try new recipes and creations as my taste buds were growing weary of the same old, plus the gentle hint from my husband..."You should be more adventurous..."

So the culinary adventure begins...Wish I had a picture from last weeks creation!

PASTA BAKE - some might call it Baked Ziti - I'm calling it a success

Cast of Ingredients (these are mostly approximates):
250 g Rigatoni, Penne or any short noodle (approx. 8 oz)
1 1/4 c. ricotta
1 large egg
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning (or Italian herbs of your choice)
Salt & Pepper (if desired)
3/4 c finely grated Parmesan
1 c shredded mozzarella or pizza cheese
3 c favorite tomato sauce 
3 cloves garlic
1 c mushrooms, chopped
-any vegetables that you might want to add...spinach, onion, meat substitutes, meat, etc. 

Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce to the bottom of casserole dish (11x7 or similar size) this will keep bake from sticking to the pan.

Saute mushrooms & garlic and any additional raw vegetables/meats to be added to sauce.  After cooking, remove from heat and add the remaining tomato sauce.

Cook noodles according to recommended instructions - al dente.  Drain and set aside.  I like to add salt to the boiling water.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.  

In a bowl mix together ricotta, egg, Italian herb seasoning, 1/4 c of Parmesan, 1/2 c mozzarella cheese, and salt & pepper if desired.

Add noodles to the sauce lined casserole dish.  Then add the ricotta mixture.  Top with tomato sauce creation.  Finally, evenly spread the remaining Parmesan and mozzarella. I like to twist the pepper over the top for a final touch.  Place in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. 

Delicious with a refreshing Cesar Salad.  Perfect on a cold winter night.