A few weeks ago when it was storming a lot and unseasonably cold (in my opinion) I was in the mood for something warm and comforting for dinner. So I decided to make one of my favourite childhood dishes, Baked Pasta. This dish can be made in so many different ways, adding more veggies or different meat, making it vegetarian or cream based. That's what is so great about pasta, there are endless possibilities. I was working with what I had in the fridge and freezer, which I am trying to make more of an effort to do. It's easy to just buy lots at the grocery store but every once and awhile Dave cleans out the freezer and I remember all the goodies in there and plan my meals around that. I will be sharing my meal planning next week, some advice and how to make it work, so stay tuned! For now, here's the recipe for a delicious baked pasta dish that I love!
- one pan of homemade sauce (or a jar if you want)
- 1 bag of pasta
- 1 cup or so of spinach
- 1/2 cup of frozen peas
- 1/2 cup fresh ricotta
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 3 mild Italian sausages (omit if you are vegetarian)
Again this is entirely up to you whatever you put in your dish. Zucchini and eggplant work beautifully in baked pastas, or ground pork or beef. My Zia Gina always used to put hard boiled eggs in, which I love but never do myself. Really anything works!
- I always start with making my homemade pasta sauce. However, if you are using a jar, just heat it up.
- Cook pasta to just before al dente. You do not want the pasta to be overcooked because it will be soggy once you bake it. I cooked mine for 6 minutes.
- Fry up your meat of choice, I used sausages we had in the freezer. However, if you want to make a meat sauce, cook your ground pork or beef and add it to your sauce.
- In a large baking sheet, place some tomato sauce on the bottom so your pasta does not stick.
- Once pasta is al dente, drain and add to the pasta sauce. Then place in baking dish.
- Add whatever vegetables, meat or cheese you would like, saving the parmesan for the top.
- Grate parmesan and spread all over top of pasta.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until hot in the centre.
Serve with a glass of wine and enjoy! I made this for just Dave and I and we had it once again for leftovers the next day. It is a great leftover and perfect for meal planning and lunches later in the week!