Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Week 24 Recipe: Easy Pasta Bake

This week I took a break from Mexican food and thought I would try some yummy pasta.  The inspiration comes from Rachael Ray.  It's her Tomato, basil and cheese baked pasta.

The recipe is rated five stars, but most of the reviewers posted changes they had made to customize the recipe to their tastes.  Fair warning, other than the pesto and ricotta cheese I pretty much changed the whole recipe.  Sorry, Rachel.  Here's my version:

8 servings
12 oz box of bow tie pasta
3/4 pound of hot italian sausage
1/4 pound of ground beef
1 cup of ricotta cheese
1 cup of pesto
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 24 oz jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1-2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and get a pot of salted water boiling on the stove.  
Crumble the sausage and ground beef and brown in a skillet.  Drain and let cool slightly. 
Cook the pasta to a little bit less than al dente (9-10 minutes) and drain.
In a large bowl combine the pesto, ricotta and parmesan cheese.  
Add the meat and stir well.  
Toss in your pasta stirring again.
Lastly, add your spaghetti sauce and stir.  Note: I add this last because you might want to add more or less sauce based on your tastes

Pour this mixture into a foil lined 9 x 13" pan and cover with the mozzarella cheese.  

Place uncovered in the oven and cook for 30 - 40 minutes.  
Turn your broiler on and brown the cheese before serving.
This is delicious!  Everyone took seconds.  The pesto added a nice depth of flavor that elevated this above your typical baked pasta.  Even with everyone grabbing a second plate there were plenty of leftovers, which I'm sure will taste even better.

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