Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pasta bake 2 (Creamy)

Pasta bake, a family favorite. I do several versions. It's so easy- I put everything into a baking dish and it's done. 
I use either this Red sauce, or this one. A jar of sauce would work also.
A pizza version- pepperoni, cheese, other pizza toppings.
Veggie- adding summer squash, spinach that's been cooked and liquid squeezed out etc.
Sauce poured over prepared spaghetti squash and baked with cheese on top.
Add vodka and cream to the sauce.
Fresh basil, diced tomatoes and fresh mozzerella.
So many possibilities. This works with whole grain pasta's also.
The key to making this dish quick is keeping sauce on hand. I make HUGE batches of sauce to freeze, I keep a list to see how much I have on hand also. Yes, I am a bit... particular. :O

3 to 3 1/2 cups sauce (red)
16 ounces uncooked short pasta
1 1/4 cups water
3 tablespoons butter
2 cloves minced garlic
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
garlic powder
1/2- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups shredded mozzarella, divided (you can use any cheese you like, fresh mozzarella won't melt smooth for this sauce though.)
1 cup milk
3/4 cup cream
(pepperoni, if you want)

Heat oven to 375 degrees.
In a sauce pan, heat the butter until melted and foamy, not browned. Stir in the garlic and flour, cook until the flour is lightly browned. Add remaining spices. Whisk in the cream and milk until smooth. Whisk in cream cheese and 1 cup shredded cheese until creamy and smooth.  Remove from heat.
Pour the red sauce into a 9x13 inch pan. Sprinkle pasta on top, stir to coat. Pour the water on top of the pasta. Pour cheese sauce on top. If you want to use pepperoni, sprinkle some on top of the pasta and sauce.
Cover the pan tightly with foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Check to see if the pasta is tender, stir. Sprinkle cheese on top and put it in the oven for 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Let this set for 10 before serving. Sprinkle with fresh basil and or parsley.

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