Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pasta Bake

Over the weekend, Nate and I and our friend Craig were talking about baked pasta for some reason. So, naturally, we developed a craving for a pasta bake and wanted to make one for dinner this week. I found an old Cooking Light recipe in my binder-o-recipes for a Baked Pasta with Sausage, Tomatoes and Cheese dish. It looked pretty easy and fairly healthy, so we went for it. I think we've made it before, but if we did, it was a long time ago.

Turns out, it wasn't quite as easy as I had hoped. I had some timing issues, couldn't tell if the meat was done, had too many noodles and got everything in the oven a little later than I had hoped.
To start, I couldn't find ziti at Outpost, so I used whole wheat penne noodles I found in the bulk food aisle. I grabbed a little more than the pound the recipe calls for, which turned out to be quite a bit (especially because penne really expands when it cooks!). Also, Outpost didn't have any fresh turkey Italian sausage (or any turkey sausage, for that matter) so we got just regular Italian sausage (which, of course, makes the dish a little less healthy). It was tasty, but because it's kind of pink, I couldn't quite figure out if it was actually cooked completely or just kind of naturally pink. So I ended up browning the meat for longer than I probably needed to.

The only other change I made to the recipe was that I put the basil in with the tomatoes and sausage when it was simmering. I'm not sure it made a difference, but maybe!

When I was putting the bake together, I didn't know if it would be saucy enough, as it didn't seem like there was enough tomato mixture for all those noodles. The end result turned out to be really, really good. There was enough sauce, just enough sausage and lots of good mozzarella and Parmesan. And it make a ton--usually we find that our serving sizes are a bit bigger than the Cooking Light serving sizes. Not this one, though--it really did make 8 servings.

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