Back in Russia I was not a big fan of pasta: I grew up and grew out of being in love with macaroni, and pasta became an eat-out meal only after a long and busy day at work. That’s it. Pasta was a seldom guest on my home menu.
Everything has changed after I married Dave. He had an Italian Grandma. Enough said. Sometimes I think he has pasta sauce instead of blood running through his veins:)
Now pasta is an essential in my kitchen, and I worked out several ways of cooking it but this one is probably my favorite. It is easy to make and its family-size serving reminds my husband of his happy early childhood at his Italian grandparents’. I hope you like this hearty comfort food too.
Mushroom baked ziti
I think what I make is close to this popular Italian American casserole dish. I don’t do layers but the idea is pretty much the same. No matter if you layer it or mix it, with quality and well-combined ingredients it tastes good.
Ingredients (serve 4):
- 1 lb (454 g) penne
- 1/2 lb fresh mushrooms (you can also use sausage, meat and peppers - anything you like)
- 1 medium-sized onion
- 4 garlic gloves
- 2 cup tomato sauce (or 1 cup tomato paste mixed with 1/2 cup water, 2 tbs olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper)
- 1 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- Cook penne al dente. Drain well.
- Make sauce: combine pasta sauce with finely chopped onion, garlic and mushrooms. Add 1 tbs olive oil, then salt, pepper and any other seasoning you enjoy with your pasta (sometimes I add a little bit of Italian herbs). Mix well.
- Put cooked penne in a casserole, add sauce and mix well.
- Add 1 cup grated mozzarella. Mix well.
- Top with the remaining mozzarella.
- Cook for some 15-20 min at 350F (180C)
- Serve your pasta in a casserole and enjoy with your family.