Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Italian Pasta Bake

I tried a new recipe Monday evening and it was a hit with DH, so I thought I would share it here. There seems to be a lot of ingredients and a lot of steps, but it was on the table in less than an hour, so don't let all that intimidate you.

In a large pot, boil enough water to cook 1lb. of penne pasta. My box said 11 minutes to the al dente stage.
Penne cooked al dente.

While the water gets to a boil and while the pasta cooks, do the following in a very large skillet. Brown 1 lb. of Italian sausage (like Bob Evans or Jimmy Dean). Then add 1 cup chopped onion and 2 cloves chopped garlic. In the final 3-5 minutes of the pasta's cooking, add 2 cans of crushed tomatoes, 1 can of Italian-style crushed tomatoes and 8 oz. white mushrooms, sliced. Also, at this point add 1 1/4 t. of Italian seasoning and a healthy grind of black pepper. Stir and simmer.

Sauce has simmered. Steaming hot!

Now, for those of you studying the picture closely, you see some whole grape tomatoes in mine. Because I was short on a can of tomatoes, I added an entire package of these tomatoes which I had in the fridge. This was my substitution. See more on substitutions at then end.

Back to cooking. Drain the pasta and return to pot. Pour meat/tomato sauce over pasta. Cut at least 8 oz. of mozzarella cheese into cubes and add. Also add about 1/2 c. of grated Parmesan cheese.  Finally, add a heaping pile of roughly chopped fresh spinach. Stir, stir, stir!

Parmesan on the left; 2 styles of mozzeralla center and right.
This is most of a bag of spinach. I'd opened it, but hadn't used much.

Pour entire thing into a 13x9-inch glass dish (I sprayed mine) and top with approx. 1/2 cup of Parm. Bake in a preheated (425 degrees F) oven for about 25 minutes.

It was a hit! Serves at least 8, maybe 10. Along with a glass of Merlot, you might think you're in Italy!

After having made this recipe, I can see where it would be very forgiving with many potential substitutions, actually. Add more meat. Add more mozzerella. Omit the spinach. Use a different pasta, like farfalle, perhaps.

Bon Appetit!

1 comment:

Feedback on my posts is always welcome!