Three Cheese Baked Pasta

Since its spring break, it’s the perfect opportunity for me to get back into the kitchen.  It means that I can get a break from the school cafeteria food.  I never realized how much I missed a home cooked meal until I got to college.  I can’t remember the last time I had pasta that was satisfying.  I always avoid the pasta served at the dinning common hall at my school.  Over cooked pasta and canned alfredo sauce doesn’t sit well me.

I had a dish similar to this except it wasn’t baked, so I decided to make it into a casserole.  You can make this ahead of time and bake it when you are ready to eat.  The best part of this dish is when the pasta forms a crust on the outside when baking and cheesy sauce inside the pasta.  And it even taste even better a couples of day after its made.

For those who have picky eaters in their household this dish is perfect to make.  Who doesn’t like cheesy pasta baked.  This dish can be modify to your liking.  Maybe adding some spinach or other veggies into the pasta.

Author Note:

I highly suggest to make your own marinara sauce for this dish.  I didn’t make my sauce, because I was lazy and I was desperate to be out the kitchen.  I felt that the jarred marinara sauce had an effect on the overall taste of the dish (I know, I’m picky).  You can use you own recipe or the recipe that posted in the past. Here’s the link.

Three Cheese Baked Pasta

1lb rigatoni pasta (or any other shaped pasta like penne)

15 oz whole milk ricotta cheese

1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated + 1/3 cup for topping

1/3 cup fresh basil chopped

2 garlic cloves minced

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1lb marinara sauce

1 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese grated

Preheat oven at 350 F. and grease a 13 x 9 baking pan.

In a large pot, cook your pasta according to the box instructions (but don’t want over cook your pasta because it will continue to cook in the oven) .  Drain pasta once it’s cooked and set aside.

In bowl a large, mix  ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, basil, garlic, salt and black pepper.  Add the cooked pasta and 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce to the cheese mixture and mix well.

Spread the pasta onto the baking pan.  Spread the remain marinara sauce evenly  on top of the pasta.  Sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese om top.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the cheese has melted and golden on top.  Let the baked pasta cool before serving.

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