Pasta Bake

I made this recipe to fit into my 1.5 quart casserole dish.  You can upgrade it to a 9×13″ pan size by using the whole jar of pasta sauce and the whole box of penne.  Also, you can mix and match as you please.  This is a very open-ended recipe.  

INGREDIENTS:

  • about 3/4 of a box (1 lb.) of penne rigate
  • about 3/4 of a jar (24 oz.) of red pasta sauce (whatever kind you like.)
  • 4-5 Roma tomatos, diced
  • 1 med. onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/8-1/3 cup parmesan cheese (I went light on the parm, but I’m not a huge cheese person)
  • 1-1.5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 lb. ground beef or turkey (optional–I didn’t add this, but it’s easy to add.)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees (F.)
  2. Prepare the pasta according to the box, but take it off the burner and drain about 2 minutes before it’s supposed to be done.  (My box said it should cook from 9-11 minutes, I took it off after 7.)
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Saute the onion until transparent.  (If using meat, add here, and saute until cooked through and crumbly.)
  4. Add all the spices, cook about 30 seconds longer (until fragrant), stirring constantly.
  5. Add tomatoes.  Cook for a few minutes (3-5) until the tomatoes start to break down, then add the pasta sauce.  Simmer for a few minutes more so the flavors can blend.
  6. Combine pasta, sauce, and parmesan in your casserole dish or pan.  (You may want to grease it if things tend to stick.  Mine was Pyrex, and didn’t have any problems ungreased.)
    1. ***The big thing here is to make sure you have extra sauce.  Otherwise the noodles will absorb it all and it will taste really bland.  So use a little extra if you’re in doubt.***
  7. Sprinkle top with cheese.  Cook for 15-20 minutes (until cooked through.)
  8. Impress all of your un-culinary friends! 🙂
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