Thursday, October 8, 2015

Easy Pasta Bake Recipe

Well, it's back to cooking for me. I took a little break from the kitchen this past weekend to work on beautifying my home :-). Breaks are necessary from time to time because they give you a chance to recharge your batteries and allow you to plan better for next week's meals. I find that taking breaks motivates me more and makes me less irritable towards the people I love...(i.e., Honey it would be wise of you to take me out to dinner every once in a while.).

Pasta bakes are very easy and it's my go to dish whenever I need to make something:

1) Fast & easy

2) Ahead of time (you can make it in advance and keep it warm in the oven or even freeze it and heat it up before serving)

3) Satisfying and delicious (depending on the ingredients you chose to use, you can make it lighter for the healthy eaters or more filling for the hearty eaters).

So last night I ended up using the ingredients I already had on hand. Basically all you really need to have for any baked pasta dish is sauce, short pasta of any type and mozzarella cheese. These are pretty much the basic ingredients. Obviously this will make for a pretty plain pasta bake but it will be delicious just as well.

By the way did you know there are officially 350 different types of pasta from around the world?? Isn't that amazing?

source

Anyways, back to my pasta bake... these are the ingredients I used:



 - Casarecce type pasta about 2 cups (again any short cut pasta is fine).
 - 2 cups of plain tomato sauce
 - 1 cup of water
 - basil leaf
 - 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
 - 1/2 cup of light cooking cream
 - 1/4 cup of diced speck (Italian smoked ham)
 - 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese

The first thing you want to do is warm up the tomato sauce and add the herbs and spices that most appeal to you. I love a spicy sauce but my other half not so much so all I added was a couple basil leaves. Also remember to bring to a boil another pot of salt water where you will be cooking the pasta.


Add 1 cup of water to the sauce in order to dilute it a bit so that the pasta will be able to cook nicely all the way through.

I then added the smoked ham which made for a more hearty sauce. I let everything cook on medium heat stirring often.



In the mean time I boiled the pasta for half of its actual cooking time. Do not let it cook for any longer than that or else it will end up too soft during the bake. Pre heat the oven to 200°c

Prep your casserole dish by covering the bottom with a ladle of your sauce. Also have on hand the mozzarella diced up or shredded.



Add about half of the pasta
 

I then added the mozzarella, cream and some parmesan as the first layer.


Now start the second layer. Add more sauce to the top and repeat the previous steps.
 



Top the casserole with a last layer of sauce and a generous serving of parmesan cheese. Bake for about 30 minutes at 200°c or until you see the top start to brown.



Yes I know, I cooked it a little too long...I got distracted watching the Bachelor :-) But I can assure you we ate every last bite!




11 comments:

  1. Hello, Silvana!
    Now I don't know what to write. Seeing these wonderful photos, I became terribly hungry and my brain got completely blocked. :)
    Lovely recipe, excellent photos!
    Baci!!

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    1. Grazie Sara è facilissimo, prova a farlo sono certa che ti piacerà! baci baci :-)

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  2. ah silvana mia sto post è da mangiarselo con gli occhi, quando ci vedremo io porto il pane e tu la pasta, la pasta madre come sta?

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    1. ciao amica del mio <3 la pasta madre sta bene poi ti mando una foto e mi darai la tua opinione. baci baci

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  3. This looks soo of good! A crisp top is always welcomed me here!. I will try the s very slow n!

    Jane

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  4. So sorry about the typos. I sound illiterate. My laptop died and I'm using an iPad for the first time. Lol!...

    Jane x :))))

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    1. hahahahah thanks Jane! I understood what you were trying to say :-))) Auto correct is the worst! lol

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  5. Oh gosh! Now you made me hungry! Your pasta looks so good. And your blog. I just added to my reading list. :) Have a wonderfully sunny day!

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    1. Thank you Maria! I will do the same. Have a wonderful day :-)

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  6. Oh my, this really sounds delicious. Can't wait to try it. Thanks tons for linking to the No Spend, Clean, Purge October Linky Party.

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    1. Thank you for hosting! I'm glad you liked my recipe :-)

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