For those of you around the world who celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you had a lovely Holiday with your dear ones!
Especially after all that yummy food, I bet most of you are still busy eating the tasty leftovers or reusing them by including them in new dishes. We don’t have a Thanksgiving festivity in Europe, but those immense quantities of dishes remind me of Christmas dinner or New Year’s get-together. After that it makes you feel like getting a little break from the kitchen for a while, doesn’t it? Although those of us who enjoy cooking know that that ‘while’ won’t last that long..despite what the scale is trying to tell us ;)
And there we are, ready and full of energy preparing the next delicious meal! Well, yesterday was another one of those days where I wanted something tasty, but without investing too much time in it. Maybe this is the reason why this baked pasta recipe is the one that back home at my parents’ house is a popular one, being prepared right on those days when we want to serve something quick. I mean, whatever ‘quick’ might mean in Italy..maybe compared to making homemade pasta or similar ;)
Anyway, this dish smells like pizza and tastes like pasta. It’s almost like getting 2 in 1! Plus, it’s simple to make. And if you like all that melted cheese on top, then this is the one to go for!
Oh! I almost forgot to mention the little new twist that I gave to this pasta for the first time! For those of you who are ‘allergic’ to vegetarian dishes (best example: my husband), you might want to spice it up with some chopped Italian sausage. The meat alone will add even more flavor to it with its spices and fennel taste.
1 package (approx. 1lb / 500 g) of pasta (i.e. penne)
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 chopped garlic clove
600 g / 21 oz of tomato sauce (diced or pureed)
½ tbsp of chopped parsley
250 g / 8¾ oz of chopped or sliced mozzarella
1 tsp of oregano
salt & ground red pepper to taste
(optional: 200 g / 7 oz of chopped Italian sausage)
* * * * *
Heat the olive oil in a pot. (For the meat version: add the chopped sausage and roast it for a few minutes, until lightly browned.) Add the garlic. Stir for a minute at medium heat.
Then pour in the tomato sauce, the parsley, salt and ground red pepper and let it cook at medium heat for at least 30min.
In the meantime bring the water to a boil in a separate pot. Add salt and pasta. Cook approx. 3 min. less than stated on the package (in order to avoid that it overcooks while being baked in the oven later on).
Drain the pasta and toss into a casserole dish. Pour the tomato sauce on top and cover with the mozzarella.
Sprinkle with some oregano and finally with a little bit of olive oil.
Bake for about 10 min. at 200°C / 390°F until the cheese has completely melted.
Prep Time: 45 min.