Tomato, Basil and Cheese Baked Pasta

In the spirit of looking for the good, I've created Pasta Friday.  Pasta Friday is a way for me to try new recipes, carb load and treat myself before the dreaded Saturday long run.  Ok maybe dreaded is a bit dramatic.  I don't dread them.  I fear them.  Well, maybe not fear them. I wish that I could just run the marathon and not have to do them.  How's that?   
Can you even handle that melted mozzarella?  I cannot.  I cannot even handle it.  
To know me is to know that there are few things that I love more than a carb and a cheese, it's only natural that I would get squeely excited over something called Pasta Friday.

Looking forward to this little tradition. Hit me up with your favorite pasta dishes!    
Tomato, Basil and Cheese Baked Pasta
adapted from Food Network

1 lb smallish pasta (I used rigatoni)
1 tbl olive oil
3 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
12 fresh basil leaves, torn
salt and pepper
1 cup basil pesto
1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 lb fresh mozzarella

Boil the pasta according to the package directions.  Drain and transfer to a large baking dish.  Stir in the pesto, the ricotta cheese and half of the Parmesan cheese.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pan.  Add the garlic and the onion, cook until soft.  Add the crushed tomatoes and heat to a simmer.  Stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper.  Pour sauce over the pasta.  Top with the remaining Parmesan cheese.  Grate (or tear, that grating gets annoying) the mozzarella on top.  

Preheat the broiler on your oven.  Place the pasta in the middle of the oven, broil for 3-5 minutes or until the cheese is just starting to brown and bubble.  Divide into 8 equal pieces 

Serving size 1/8 of recipe
Points plus 14  

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