Monday, March 16, 2009

Rustic Peasant Pasta

This recipe makes 2 9 x 13 pans--make one for dinner and freeze the other (I do this big batch because the ricotta cheese and spinach come in packages too large for one pan and if I don't make it now--it goes to waste)

500 g package of your favorite pasta (penne, radiatori, fusili, farfalle or shell are good)
1-1 1/2 lbs. of lean ground beef or ground pork (I use 1/2 and 1/2)
3-5 cloves fresh garlic minced
25-30 oz. package of Ricotta cheese (I use low fat)
1/2 c. fresh Parmesan cheese
3-4 cups of cottage cheese
1/2 c. mayonnaise
2 lb. 13 oz. bottle of pasta sauce (or use your own if you are ambitious*)
mozzarella cheese
any veggies you like (I use mushrooms and 1 package of fresh spinach)

Boil pasta (salt the water and use a TBSP of olive oil to keep from boiling over). Drain pasta and set aside. While the pasta is boiling, brown the ground meat. In the last minute add the garlic and salt to taste. Add your veggies to the meat and cook until tender (I just wilt the spinach-it wilts WAY down in size). Cool the meat/veggie mixture while you combine the ricotta, cottage and parmesan cheeses and the mayo. Add the cooled meat to the cheese mixture. Layer in the 9 x 13 pans starting with a thin layer of sauce. Split the pasta into the 2 pans. Cover the pasta with the cheese/meat mixture split between the 2 pans. Top with the remaining sauce and mozzarella cheese. Bake for 1/2 hour at 350 until heated through and all bubbly. If you are using the frozen pasta--leave in the fridge overnight and then cook it for 45 minutes (or until hot in the middle).

*An easy pasta sauce can be made by taking a large basket of grape tomatoes washed and put in a roasting pan. Coat the tomatoes with sea salt and fresh minced garlic. Roast in the over uncovered (about 400) until the tomatoes lose shape. Mash them up with a potato masher and you are good to go.
Recipe from Rachelle Stubbs

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