Friday, April 22, 2011

Food Network Mag: Baked Pasta

Once of my goals is to make at least one recipe per month from each of the cooking magazines I subscribe to:  Food Network Magazine and (Martha Stewart's) Everyday Food, rather than just drooling over the ridiculously beautiful food photos and assaulting the pages with post-it notes.

Here you'll see the March 2011 issue of the Food Network Magazine (FNM), the "Italian Issue".

The Mix & Match Baked Pasta instructional guide was intriguing for me because I had tons of cooked, leftover pasta on hand.  Long story short:  Hawaii was under a tsunami warning and I cooked everything in my house to ensure that, if nothing else, I wouldn't starve to death.

Step 1 - Pick a pasta.
Spaghetti.  Sorry, Food Network, it's not on your list of approved pastas, it's what I have.

Step 2 - Make the sauce.
EVOO, garlic, canned plum tomatoes, and basil.  Simmer until thickened to perfection or, until you can't wait any longer!  I'd never used canned plum tomatoes before and I love them.  The smell, texture, and flavor of them is amazing.  Don't take my word for it, please try them.

Step 3 - Choose your mix-ins.
We had (raw) veggies:  zucchini, white onion, red onion, and mushrooms.  The star of the show was (cooked) chicken & turkey Italian sausage.

Step 4 - Flavor the sauce.
I skipped this step and adding herbs to make herb sauce, ricotta to make creamy sauce, or pancetta to make meat sauce.

Here are all of the ingredients, getting to know each other on the stove.

Look at all the great colors in the baking dish!

Step 5 - Pick your cheese.
You don't have to tell me twice!  They recommend 3 cups of melting cheese & 1 cup of grating cheese.  If you haven't noticed yet, this recipe was a let's-use-what-we-have-at-home recipe!  I had a lot of parmesan and a little bit of mozzarella.

Step 6 - Bake the casserole.
Bake, uncovered, about 15 minutes or until cheese is slightly browned.  Like so:

Yes, please!  You can't go wrong with pasta, especially pasta that's been topped with cheese and baked.  It's really too bad people don't use the expression "that's the cheese on the baked ziti" instead of "that's the icing on the cake"!  It was really yummy and the ingredients went well together.  Of course, it was even better the next day.

The next time you have leftovers, turn to this guide and it will tell you exactly how to get rid of them properly.


  1. Yum!! I make a baked spaghetti with a red sauce. I'll have to try this version sometime seems a lot lighter. :)

  2. It was yummy, although the sauce wasn't the best! I probably should have let it simmer for much longer, but I was too hungry.