Thursday, September 1, 2011

Baked 3 Cheese Penne Pasta

This dish is sure to please Everyone!

Kid friendly. Vegetarian. Lots of Cheese. And who doesn't LOVE Pasta?! Oh...and it is Easy to make. I taught this recipe to a class of about 10 teenage girls. The next day, they were all calling me for the recipe. Hopefully, they made dinner for their family.

This recipe is familiar to Lasagna. Cheese...lots of it. Sauce. Pasta. Comfort and Taste. What a great combo!

I was talking to my cousin...another Lasagna lover like me. And he said he eats leftover pasta, cold...even for breakfast! Well, I have to admit I have eaten cold pasta, but not sure if I ate it for breakfast. Either way, still good.


Cheese Mixture:

1 cup or 1 small container of Ricotta Cheese
1 egg yolk (save egg white for brushing over breadsticks, if making)
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese, or you could add 1/4 cup cheddar cheese. The thing with cheddar cheese is if you add too much, it will become greasy.
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Generous pinch of grated nutmeg
Large handful of fresh flat leaf Italian parsley, coarsely chopped. I also used some fresh basil and oregano. About 1/4 cup of each. Or you could add 1 1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning in addition to the fresh parsley.
Salt and Pepper

1 box of penne pasta or ziti pasta. *I like to use wheat pasta. Yeah for fiber!
1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce
1 cup cheese, I used mozzarella and Parmesan cheese (for the top)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Bring pot of water to boil, add pasta and turn down heat to med-high. Cook pasta until al dente in light boiling water. Not too soft, but no crunch.

While pasta is cooking, mix cheese mixture. In bowl dump all cheese mixture ingredients together. Mix.

After pasta is done cooking. Transfer to a 9x13 inch pan and mix well with cheese mixture.

Add tomato sauce evenly to the top of the pasta. Do not mix completely. With a spoon, help the tomato sauce to drip down into the pasta. So, in a way, mix just the very top of the pasta, gently with the tomato sauce.

Cover with remaining cheese and bake in oven for about 20 minutes or until light brown and bubbly. Let rest and cool for about 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy! Serve with breadsticks and green salad! What a great meal.

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