Friday, January 28, 2011

Tomato, Basil, and Cheese Baked Pasta

This is from Cooking Rocks! Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meals for Kids

1 pound medium shell pasta
3 large cloves garlic
2 Tbsp. evoo
1/2 small yellow onion
1 can (28 oz) crushed Italian tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh basil (I used dried)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup store-bought basil pesto sauce (found in refridgerator section)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded
Chopped chicken was the one thing we agreed needs to be added to this dish.

Cook pasta one minute short of time recommended on package.

Preheat a big, deep skillet or a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Remove skins from garlic and chop.

Add evoo and garlic to pan. Chop the onion. (She recommends using 1/2 the onion. So, I did. Next time I don't know if I won't just use the whole thing.) Add the onion to the oil and garlic. Cook, stirring a lot, until the onions are mushy and look cooked, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes to the onions and stir. When the tomatoes come to a bubble, reduce the heat under the sauce to low. Stir in basil pieces to wilt them. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.

Preheat the broiler to high and place a rack in the center of the oven.

Drain pasta shells. Add them to a casserole dish. Add pesto sauce, ricotta cheese, and a handful of grated parmesan. Stir carefully and coat the hot pasta with the pesto and cheeses. Pour the hot tomato and basil sauce over the pasta. Scatter the mozzarella cheese over the pasta. Add a final sprinkle of parmesan as well. Place the casserole under the broiler in the middle of oven, 10 to 12 inches from the heat. Let the cheese melt and bubble on top, 3 to 5 minutes.

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