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June 30: Pasta Bake

A perfect companion for garlic bread, this dish is a lot more interesting than plain spaghetti and meatballs.

Ingredients: 1 tablespoon salt 1 pound pasta (preferably ziti or penne) Quick Marinara Sauce 1/2 cup Parmesan or Pecorino-Romano cheese 2 cups Mozzarella cheese, divided

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. In large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Add pasta and stir. Cook for 5 minutes. Test pasta by biting a piece — it should be almost fully cooked but not quite there (pasta will finish cooking in the oven). If pasta is still too hard, cook for another minute and test again. When pasta is ready, remove 3/4 cup of the pasta water, and add to the Quick Marinara Sauce. Drain pasta, but do not rinse. Return pasta to the pot. Add about 1/4 cup of sauce to the pasta; mix well. Spoon some sauce into the bottom of a 3-quart baking dish. Add a layer of pasta, then more sauce. Sprinkle a layer of Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese, reserving 1 cup of Mozzarella for the top layer. Continue the layering process until all the ingredients are used. Sprinkle the second cup of Mozzarella cheese over the top of the casserole. Bake in oven for 20 minutes, or until top is melted and bubbling. Note: For a hearty change, add leftover chicken or crumbled sausage to the dish. Makes 4 servings.

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