Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Ghost's Kitchen: Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta al Forno

What's cooking today?

Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta al Forno

Hello everyone and welcome to another segment of...

It's not very often that I make a main dish without the use of meat.  I'm far too much of a carnivore for that if I'm being perfectly honest.  However if there was ever a "no-meat" dish that I would be willing to eat it would most likely have to involve pasta, cheese, or a combination of the two.  As you can see from the picture above this recipe certainly fits that bill.

I originally found a version of this recipe online when trying to find new and relatively inexpensive dishes to make.  This particular recipe looked pretty good, used an ingredient I didn't normally use, and had me making my own sauce for the thing.  I tried it out and... well it was terrible.  There's a difference in subtle flavors and having no flavor to speak of.  Being the kind of person I am, I tried my hand at making some adjustments here and there, and eventually came to (in my opinion) a superior product once poked and prodded a bit.

One of the bigger changes I made was not really making my own sauce.  I still utilized some of the ideas behind the original sauce, but the original sauce was bland and there just wasn't enough of it to go around.  So I changed it to a half pre-made sauce because that would increase the flavor and volume.  I also changed it to that because sometimes when it comes to cooking I follow a strict guideline of

Gather Your Ingredients
  • 1 lbs Box of Rigatone (or some other tube pasta of your choice)
  • 8 oz Package Fresh Mozzarella
  • 2/3rd Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Jar Thick Spaghetti Sauce of choice
  • 1 Can Italian Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Large Pot
  • 1 Medium Pot with Lid
  • Stirring Spoons
  • Strainer
  • 9x13 Glass Pan
  • Measuring Cup
  • Knife and Cutting Board

1. Cut up Mozzarella and Set Aside
You will want to cut the fresh mozzarella in half and keep them separated.  Then you will want to cut those halves into small chunks.  This will be used later so just set it aside for now.

2. Warm Sauce and Tomatoes
Add your jar of spaghetti sauce and italian diced tomatoes to the medium pot and mix together.  Turn the heat on low-medium and place the lid on.  The sauce doesn't need to be boiling, just warmed up.

3. Cook Rigatone
Fill your large pot with water till boiling then add your rigatone.  The rigatone should take about 12-15 minutes to fully cook.

4. While Pasta is Cooking, Preheat Oven to 400°F

5. Strain Pasta
Once pasta is fully cooked you will want to strain it of any water.

6. Place Pasta Back in Pot

7. Pour Sauce on Pasta

8. Mix Thoroughly
Ensure that every piece of pasta is covered in some degree of sauce.

9. Put Half of Pasta in Dish
You only want to put half of the pasta in as we will be making two layers.

10. Place Half of Mozzarella on top
Be sure to spread out the cheese don't just put it on one spot

11. Spread 1/3rd Cup Parmesan on top

12. Add Second Layer of Pasta

13. Add Second Layer of Mozzarella
Again, spread it out.

14. Top with 1/3rd Cup Parmesan

15. Bake for 15 Minutes

16. Serve from dish and enjoy!

Is this the most groundbreaking of recipes?  No it's not.  It's basically baked spaghetti if you utilized a different kind of pasta and added some mozzarella cheese.   However, it's a decent enough change in presentation to classify it as it's own thing.  If your family likes spaghetti and they like mozzarella then they are bound to like this.  I know we do!

This is Ghost fading into the darkness.
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If you want to see my other food topics and recipes then simply click here!

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