Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Baked Gemelli

(Edited to include photo--I don't know how I missed that when originally posted!)
Lasagne is one of those dinners that makes me sigh.

Not just in delight--oh, but that's part of it, no doubt--but also because the thought of making it sends me into a daze of reasons not to go to all the trouble.

I suppose it's not that bad, really, once you get into the groove. But on days when I'd like to have lasagne and don't have the time, baked pasta comes to the rescue.

I used gemelli this time, but any shape you fancy will suffice. I mixed cooked (very al dente) pasta with the ricotta combo, put it in a greased pan and topped with a meaty ragu and cheese. After only 20 minutes in a preheated 350*F oven, out came piping-hot, ooey-gooey cheesy baked pasta. The satisfaction of lasagne without the time investment--especially since I had pre-cooked ground beef (that I cooked up myself--no, I don't buy the pre-cooked ground beef at the grocery!) in the freezer ready to be thawed and used!

Baked Gemelli
serves 6-8

1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese (or romano, or pecorino, or a combination)
2 eggs
1-1/2 cup shredded mozzarella, divided
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound gemelli (or any other pasta shape you like), cooked 3-5 minutes less than directions on the box for very al dente
1 pound ground beef, pan-fried
2-1/2 cups your favorite spaghetti sauce

Preheat oven to 350*F.

Combine ricotta, parmesan, 1/2 cup shredded mozarella, eggs, garlic powder and black pepper in a very large bowl. Top with cooked, drained pasta and stir to combine. Transfer to a greased 9x13x2-inch baking pan.

In a separate bowl, combine ground beef and spaghetti sauce. Pour over pasta-cheese mixture. Top with remaining 1 cup mozarella and bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until bubbly and browned.

This is a perfect family dinner. Mr.W enjoyed his with a hunk of italian bread (a very rare thing in our house) and a green salad.

This freezes and reheats well, though you might want to add a little extra sauce.


Mary said...

Wow this sounds great! I've bookmarked it to make it later. Do you think I could cut down on the cheese and add some veggies? My husband is lactose intolerant and I'm getting chubby...

Mrs. W said...

The cheese makes the pasta very solid in this recipe--enables you to cut nice, neat squares of this dish. For a lighter version, I would cut the cheese mixture in half, and either:

(a) mix the cheese-sauce-meat-veg mixture all together before combining with the pasta, or

(b) use milk (unsweetened plain soy milk would work well here) to thin the cheese mixture (with lots of extra garlic), add with the pasta & veggies, then top with sauce and cheese.

A lot of people do lasagne-type dishes with a cream sauce and tomato sauce together, and I think this would be similar to that.

Also for lactose intolerants, try using tofu instead of all or some of the ricotta. And they make some really excellent soy & rice cheeses now that taste good and melt nicely.

Gloria said...

This looks so yummy Amanda, Im happy to passing by! looks so delicious! xxGloria

Mrs. W said...

Why thank you, Gloria. I'm glad you're passing by, too.

Robin said...

Sounds delicious!

I love the new avatar too, you look lovely with an entire face :).

Mrs. W said...

Thanks, Robin. It's nice to out myself once in a while!

Johanna said...

thanks Mrs W - very kind of you - and I love your picture with your brother - you both look so cute!

LinkWithin Related Stories Widget for Blogs