I’m all about making healthy homemade meals for my family. But sometimes I need a break from cooking or just want something quick and easy to prepare. On one of those nights I often make Pesto Pasta Bake, a dish the whole family loves.
If you have homemade tomato sauce and basil pesto definitely use it, but store bought sauce and pesto work just as well and can’t be easier.
Pesto Pasta Bake
1 pound whole grain penne pasta
1 cup basil pesto sauce
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 cup ricotta cheese
½ cup grated parmesan or romano cheese
½ pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
1. Boil water and cook pasta to al dente doneness (according to package instructions), and drain pasta.
You want the pasta to be slightly underdone, since it will soak up liquids and continue cooking even after it’s drained.
2. Add drained pasta to a large bowl. Add pesto sauce, ricotta cheese, and a handful of grated parmesan. Stir to coat hot pasta with pesto and cheeses.
3. Pour the pasta mixture into a casserole dish. (We like to split this recipe into two casserole dishes and freeze one for later.)
4. Top pasta mixture with spaghetti sauce and then sprinkle shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Finally, add a sprinkle of Italian Seasoning.
5. Place the casserole under the broiler for 3-5 minutes until the cheese melts and bubbles.
For our family I often split the recipe into two dishes and freeze one for another busy night. Serve it with a big salad with homemade vinaigrette to help balance out the ooey-gooey cheesy goodness. Enjoy!
This post is linked to Freezer Cooking Day at Money Saving Mom and Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.