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Pick a Pasta Casserole

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Ingredients

  • Sauce:
  • 1 pound pasta ( farfalle, cavatappi, fusilli, rigatoni, penne, ziti, large shell)
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 4 sliced garlic cloves
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 28 oz and 15 oz plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 c water (rinse cans)
  • 4 large basil sprigs
  • Flavor the Sauce:
  • Herb -1 c each chopped basil and parsley
  • Creamy-1 c fresh ricotta
  • Meat-3/4 pound pancetta, diced and browned
  • Add Ins:
  • Italian sausage, crumbled and cooked
  • Meatballs, cooked and quartered
  • 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
  • Black or green pitted olives, chopped
  • Cheese:
  • Melting cheese:
  • fresh mozzarella, cubed
  • mild provolone, shredded
  • Italian fontina, shredded
  • Young Asiago, shredded
  • Grating Cheese:
  • Parmesan,grated
  • Pecorino, grated
  • Ricotta salata, grated

Details

Adapted from foodnetworkmagazine.com

Preparation

Step 1

Preheat oven to 450'. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; cook pasta until very al dente, 2-3 minutes less than the label directs; drain.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic cloves and red pepper flakes, cook until the garlic is golden. Crush tomatoes into the skillet with your hands, add the water to the skillet. Add basil sprigs; simmer, uncovered, until the sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes. Discard the basil; season the sauce with salt.

While the sauce simmers, prepare 3 cups of meat and /or vegetables (in any combination).

Stir one of the following ingredients into your sauce, then add your meat and/or vegetable mix-ins.

Prepare 3 cups melting cheese and 1 cup grating cheese.

Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce and half of the cheese. Spread in an oiled 3-4 quart baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the pasta. Bake, uncovered, until browned, about 15 minutes. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.

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