Note: The picture associated with this article was taken with a camera phone; the image represents reheated baked pasta.
Baked pasta is a simple variation on tradition pasta recipes. Take your cooked pasta, toss it on a casserole dish, put some ricotta or cottage cheese on it, spread pasta (tomato) sauce over top, and sprinkle some grated mozzarella. Then place it in an oven for a few minutes.
Not only is this easy, but a standard baked pasta dish will make enough for refrigerated leftovers (the cheese adds calories which in turn reduces necessary portion sizes).
Baked pasta is also a more diverse taste experience. Plain pasta with sauce lacks an oomph (unless you have prepared terrific sauce). Eating baked pasta over several days is not particularly boring.
Here is our standard recipe:
- One box of your favorite pasta (penne, linguine, fettuccine, etc.).
- One can/bottle of organic pasta sauce (or make it fresh).
- Mozzarella cheese, grated (enough to cover the casserole dish).
- Ricotta or cottage cheese.
- Parmesan cheese (freshly grated is best).
- Cook pasta to desired tensity (follow box instructions), strain.
- Spread strained pasta around a large rectangular casserole dish.
- Place a few spoonfuls of ricotta or cottage cheese throughout the pasta.
- Spread pasta sauce over top.
- Sprinkle mozzarella cheese and a bit of Parmesan over everything.
- Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese melts. Over-cooking slightly (golden brown) will not hurt it.
- Add meat and/or meatballs to the sauce. Ground beef works well.
- Add onion/green pepper/mushroom to the sauce.