Every other week our awesome guest contributor, Katie Workman, shares her favorite easy recipes and cooking tips and tricks as part of our What’s for dinner? series. Katie Katie is the Editor in Chief and Chief Marketing Officer of Cookstr.com , a website devoted to great, tested recipes from chefs and cookbook authors, so she knows her way around the kitchen.
Simple fresh mozzarella pasta casserole
by Katie Workman
This is definitely great with just a salad, and I’ve put it into a beautiful baking dish and served it to company in a pinch and people cannot stop eating it. If you want you can pretend you made the vodka sauce yourself. Some odd tips: if you are a family who likes the crust, use a shallow baking dish, so you have more surface area. Conversely, if you are a creamy family, use a deeper dish, less crusty top, more gooey inside.
- 1 pound dried pasta, such as ziti, penne, cavatelle, bow-ties, or any chunky fun shape
- 1 16-ounce jar vodka sauce(or any other pasta sauce you may have)
- 1 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes (yes, you can use packaged mozzarella, but try, try to find fresh - it makes all the difference)
- 1/2 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt the water, add the pasta and cook until almost al dente (follow package directions). Scoop out half a cup of the cooking water, and drain the pasta. Throw the pasta back in the pot, and toss in the cooking water, mozzarella and vodka sauce. Mix it all up, turn the mixture into a casserole and sprinkle the parmesan on top. Bake in a preheated 400F oven for 25 minutes, until the top is a bit brown.
I sometimes make the casserole and bake it later, but either bring to room temp before, or add some time to the cooking time if it’s chilled. Somehow, this thing is very hard to overbake! Kids really really love this. I have also made it with other shredded cheeses, but fresh moz is best.
I also often add cubes/chunks of cooked chicken, or cooked shrimp, or slices of turkey kielbasa, or some crumbled cooked bacon is excellent. Also try slices of roasted pepper, with or without any of the prior thoughts. Sliced black olives are also yummy (unless your kids will be like “EW!” - mine love olives. Also, sliced drained canned artichoke hearts.
Subscribe to blog via RSS