Friday, September 9, 2011

COOKING: Pasta Bake

I'm in the midst of making another Pasta Bake. I think it's my 4th in 2-3 weeks, mainly because it takes 15 minutes to put together (if you count the cooking noodles time) and it's cheap. It costs about $5 to make and if that's not cheap enough, it lasts both Bill and I 3-5 meals. So it's about .50 cents per serving!

Every time i make it, I play with it a bit. Last time I added more sauce and cheese, using romano, parm and mozzerella. This time, I kept that same amount of mozzerella cheese, added ground beef that i already had cooked and leftover, sprinkled in oregano, and added some large mushroom slices. It's currently baking, so I have to wait to see if it turns out ok. my main concern was forgetting about the beef until the whole thing was already assembled. Bill had requested it simce the first time I made it and i had leftovers that had to be used today, so instead of ruining what was ready, I just added it all on top. I have a feeling it'll turn out a bit hard because of it.

Here's the recipe I use. It tastes GREAT if you follow the recipe as is, but if you play with it, you can get some great tastes!

1 lb ziti (I use trio pasta), cooked and drained
15 oz ricotta cheese
8 oz mozzerella cheese (I use this and a half)
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1/4 pepper
3 1/2 cups sauce
1/4 parm cheese

In large bowl, mix all ingredients but noodles until well blended. Fold in pasta until all is well coated.

Spread 1/2 cup sauce on the bottom of a 13x9 inch dish (I put additional cheese on top of sauce). Pour pasta mixture in and even it out. Top with remaining sauce and add parm cheese.

Bake in preheated oven at 375 for 30 minutes or until heated through. Sauce should be bubbly and top should be lightly browned. Allow 10 minutes before cutting.

UPDATE: This pasta bake is the best so far. I recommend adding some oregano and sliced mushrooms - it really enhances the flavor! I only sprinkled the top with beef, but next time I'll add more and put it inside the mixture.

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