Thursday, February 10, 2011

Baked Pasta, with Infinite Possibilities

This recipe was in my monthly Food Network magazine.  Well, it's not really a recipe, it's a method.  Mix and match different pasta with different veggies and meats and see what you come up with!  I used fusilli, pepperoni, spinach, ricotta and Parmesan. 

Baked Pasta, with Infinite Possibilities
from Food Network Magazine

1.  Pick a pasta.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Bring a large pot of salted water to boil; cook 1 pound of pasta until very al dente, 2 or 3 minutes less than the label directs; drain.  Choose from:
  • Farfalle
  • Cavatappi
  • Fusili
  • Rigatoni
  • Penne
  • Ziti
  • Large Shells
2.  Heat up 4 cups prepared tomato sauce
3.  Choose your mix-ins.  While the sauce simmers, prepare 3 cups meat and/or veggies (in any combination).  Choose from:
  • Italian sausage, crumbled and cooked
  • Meatballs, quartered and cooked
  • Pepperoni, chopped
  • Rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • Hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • Roasted Red Peppers, sliced
  • Frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and chopped
  • Zucchini, sliced and sauteed
  • Mushrooms, sliced and sauteed
  • Eggplant, sliced and sauteed
  • Fennel, sliced and sauteed
  • Spinach, chopped and sauteed
  • Escarole, chopped and sauteed (I'm not going to pretend to know what that is)
  • Black or green pitted olives, chopped
4.  Flavor the sauce.  Stir in one of the following ingredients into your sauce, then add meat and/or veggie mix-ins.
  • For herb sauce:  1 cup each chopped basil and parsley
  • For creamy sauce: 1 cup fresh ricotta
  • For meat sauce:  3/4 pound pancetta, diced and browned
5.  Pick your cheese.  Prepare 3 cups melting cheese and 1 cup grating cheese.
Melting cheese:
  • Fresh mozzarella, cubed
  • Mild provolone, shredded
  • Italian fontina, shredded
  • Young asiago, shredded
Grating cheese:
  • Parmesan, grated
  • Pecorino, grated
  • Ricotta salata, grated
6.  Bake the casserole.  Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce and half of each cheese.  Spread in an oiled 3 to 4 quart baking dish.  sprinkle the remaining cheese over the pasta.  Bake, uncovered, until browned, about 15 minutes.  Let rest 15 minutes before serving.


  1. P.S. I used mini pepperoni, they're cute and you don't have to chop them!

  2. Looks like a plentyfull recipe. And looks delish! ~ Mom