May 5, 2009

Three-Cheese Baked Pasta

Three-Cheese Baked Pasta

The ultimate comfort food. Imagine macaroni and cheese, but with a nice creamy tomato base. Cooked pasta is combined with a three-cheese combination: creamy ricotta, pungent pecorino romano, and diced provolone, which creates nice little cheese "pockets" throughout. Due to distraction while making this recipe, I actually added 1/2 cup too much romano to the pasta (which may have made the pre-baked mixture a little too dry) but it wasn't a problem in the end. A flavorful but basic tomato sauce (that should be kept simmering for longer than the 25-minute suggested time to deepen the flavor) is also mixed in. This sauce starts with a mirepoix base, and is very heavy on the garlic. A good 10 minced cloves went into the sauce, and it really can be tasted in the final product. Sun-dried tomatoes are also incorporated, adding a nice sweet and tangy flavor with intermittent bites. Sprinkle more romano on top, bake uncovered, and you've got a hot cheesy filling meal. Bake for an additional 5 minutes (like I accidentally did, whoops), and your dish will have crisp, smoky, cheesy edges (but you know this is sometimes the best part!).

Make again? Definitely. This is a great lasagna alternative for when you don't feel like layering and building, etc. The flavors are all there, it's quite hearty, and leftovers are great!



Three-Cheese Baked Pasta
Cooking Light, December 2006

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