Baked Pasta with Tomatoes and Mozzarella
Need an easy dinner that your family will devour? Check out this baked pasta recipe!
Are your calendars filling up with scheduled activities? Ours is. That means I need to be a bit more more organized when it comes to meals. Not only do I need to have an unending, creative supply of lunches on hand, but also good, filling meals for supper.
This recipe is one of our favorites. It’s easy to make, fills my 3 hungry boys and husband, freezes well and makes great lunch leftovers!
This recipe comes via Jamie Oliver, so you know it’s full of wholesome ingredients. When I came across it he wrote of how he found inspiration for this dish while visiting a grade school in Italy.
This dish was served to the Italian school children both as a hot and cold lunch.
The day Jamie visited it was served to 1,000 children! Also, did you know that in Italy it is law that the ingredients in school lunches are organic? Seriously. I had to look that one up, not believing the first time I read it.
The laws primarily apply to pasta and olive oil, but they also make a point to use mostly local produce, supporting local farmers and agriculture. How cool is that? Very cool, in my opinion.
- 14 oz whole wheat pasta--orcchiette or penne
- 2-3 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 white onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-2 teaspoons chili powder (or 1-2 dried chilies, crumbled)
- 3 - 14 ounce cans diced tomatoes, including juice
- 2-3 tablespoons basil pesto (or 1 large handful fresh basil)
- 1 tablespoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
- 2 cups parmesan, grated
- 3 - 5 ounce balls of mozzarella, sliced
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and put a large pot of salted water on to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Add onion, garlic and chili. Sauté for about 10 minutes on medium to low heat until onions are translucent. Add in the tomatoes, including juice. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Using a food processor or immersion blender, process until sauce is smooth. Add in pesto (or fresh basil), vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Toss the pasta with half the tomato sauce.
- Prepare a 9x13 or 8x8 baking dish by rubbing with olive oil. Layer a little pasta in the bottom of the baking dish, followed by a layer of tomato sauce, a handful of parmesan and layer of sliced mozzarella. Continue layering until you've used all the ingredients, ending with a layer of cheese on top. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and bubbling.