Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Baked pasta and gooey cheese...

I had to run a bunch of errands today, so I ended up home a little later than I would have liked tonight. I didn't let that stop me from getting something on the table for dinner though! I turned to another pasta dish, just like we did last week, except this one was planned, but had a little more work to it. Not much though!

Because you can easily multi-task on this Baked Bow-Tie Pasta with Mozzarella dish, I think dinner was ready (though still a bit hot) in just around 30 minutes or so. While I was waiting for the farfalle (bow-ties) to cook, I got going on a quick tomato sauce. To a couple fragrant cloves of warmed minced garlic, we added a can of whole tomatoes, crushed red pepper, oregano and just a dash of sugar to take away any tinned flavor from the tomatoes. Cooked until slightly thickened, be sure to use a sturdy wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes as they cook. Alternately, break out the boat motor (immersion blender!) and let 'er rip. I would suggest that you try and leave some texture to the sauce and not get it smooth if you use this method though.

To add some protein to the dish, a couple cooked chicken sausages are thinly sliced into coins and tossed into the sauce, along with the cooked pasta and some cubed pieces of mozzarella. For the sausages, we used a favorite sun-dried tomato and mozzarella version that we picked up from Costco and had in the freezer. Since once can usually not go wrong with more cheese, additional cubes of mozzarella are tossed on top, along with a sprinkling of sharp Parmesan cheese. You only need to bake this until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese starts to turn golden on top - about 10 to 15 minutes total! Just enough time to clean up, get a drink and remove the clutter that always ends up on the table. Since this is a pretty saucy dish, it is not as easy to get firm pieces out like you would with a lasagna. However, if you let it sit for awhile (who can wait?), the pieces will probably not spread as much as they did for us.

I loved shifting the tender bow-ties around with my fork, trying to find those hidden puddles of love in the form of gooey mozzarella! Feel free to play around with the sauce and make it your own - toss in some fresh shreds of basil at the end, sauté a few chopped onions or mushrooms before adding the garlic or even add a splash of red wine if you're feeling adventurous!



  1. this looks AMAZING! I can practically smell it from here.

  2. To get away from the "tinned" tomato taste, buy some great organic plum tomatoes this summer, wash, cut in half and ROAST them with garlic and herbs for 2-3 hours in a slow oven. When they smell done - don't worry, you'll know - toss them into the food processor for a few whirls and then put in freezer containers or jars and freeze for occasions such as this. You will never buy tomato sauce again.

  3. Yum! Pasta is always one of my favorites.

  4. I've been liking these quick sauces you make- and that tip from anonymous to roast the tomatoes, wow, I never thought to do that! But I'm going to! I don't use farfalle a lot with sauce, but after reading your description(!)that's about to change.

  5. That's an interesting quick meal to make for a week night meal. I would love it with lot's of cheese on top.

  6. Jennifer - Thanks!

    Gay - It is hard to resist gooey cheese!

    Anon - Thanks for the tip!

    Lisa - Yeah!

    Quinn - Thank you!

    Helene - hurray for lots of cheese!

  7. This looks so good. All that cheese is just calling my name!

  8. Madeline - one can't go wrong with lots of cheese!