When one thinks of Italian cuisine, the first thing that comes to mind is pasta. Combine it with a variety of meat or vegetables, and it will enhance the overall appeal of the meal. The quickest way to make pasta is the all-famous pasta casserole. It is perfect even for emergency situations, such as unexpected guests or severe hunger!
Traditional Baked Pasta Casserole - Serves 2
- Olive oil spray
- Onions (chopped), 2 tbsp.
- Garlic clove (minced), 1
- Green bell pepper (chopped), 2 tbsp.
- Rotelle pasta, 1½ cups
- Spaghetti sauce, ½ cup
- Lean ground beef, 3 oz.
- Salt to taste and a pinch of black pepper
- Italian mozzarella and Parmesan cheese blend (shredded), as required
- Preheat the oven to 350 ºF. Boil the pasta as per the directions given on the package. Add in a little salt to flavor the pasta.
- Spray a heated nonstick skillet with some olive oil, and add in the garlic and onion. Stir until they are slightly turn golden in color.
- Add in the beef and bell peppers. Cook until the beef has lost its pink color, and ensure that the vegetables are crisp and not overcooked.
- Once the beef mixture is ready, add in the spaghetti sauce, pasta, and black pepper, and mix thoroughly.
- Transfer this mix into a baking dish, and sprinkle it with the amount of cheese required. Bake for a period of 15 minutes until the cheese has turned golden brown. Do not let the cheese dry out.
Easy Pasta Casserole - Serves 8
- Olive oil for cooking
- Large yellow onion (chopped), 1
- Fresh spinach (finely chopped), 4 cups
- Garlic cloves (minced), 2
- Almonds (sliced and lightly toasted), 1½ cups
- Zest of 2 lemons
- A pinch of sea salt
- Pasta shells, ¾ lb
- Mozzarella (shredded), 8 oz.
- Preheat the oven to 375 ºF.
- Boil the pasta as per the directions given on the package. Drain it, pour in a teaspoon of olive oil, mix, and keep it aside.
- In a nonstick skillet placed over medium flame, heat some olive oil. Add in the onion along with a little sea salt, and stir until it turns tender. Now, add in the garlic, followed by the spinach. Cook only for a few seconds till the spinach shrinks slightly.
- Now, take the skillet off the heat, and add half of the lemon zest and 1 cup of almonds to it. Add in the pasta, and stir thoroughly.
- Grease a casserole dish with some olive oil, and sprinkle the remaining zest in it. Make one layer of pasta, and sprinkle some cheese on it. Now, add another layer of pasta and sprinkle the rest of the cheese. You can make as many layers as possible with the amount of cheese you want.
- Cover the casserole with a foil, and bake until the cheese has slightly browned, and is bubbly. Garnish with the remaining almonds, and serve.
Vegetarian Pasta Casserole - Serves 8
- Penne pasta, 1 packet
- Mushrooms (sliced), 1 cup
- Broccoli (chopped), 2 cups
- Green bell pepper (chopped), 1 cup
- Medium-sized onion (chopped), 1
- Garlic clove (minced), 1
- Fresh basil (chopped), 5 tbsp.
- All-purpose flour, ¼ cup
- Non-fat milk, 4 cups
- Parmesan cheese (grated), ¾ cup
- Dried bread crumbs, ¼ cup
- Butter, 1 tbsp.
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to a temperature of 350 ºF.
- In a large pot, pour water, add a little salt, and bring it to a boil. Add in the pasta, and allow it to cook for a period of 8-10 minutes. Add in the broccoli, mushrooms, and bell peppers, and cook for about 6-8 minutes until the pasta is done. Lastly, drain the mixture, and set aside.
- In a skillet placed over medium flame, melt the butter, and stir in the onions and garlic for 1-2 minutes. Now, add the flour and let the mixture cook. Pour in the milk slowly while stirring to avoid the formation of lumps. Cook for about 5 minutes.
- Take the skillet off the heat, and add in ½ cup of the Parmesan cheese, along with some salt and pepper.
- Combine the pasta, vegetables, and milk mixture along with 4 tablespoons of the basil together, and pour the mixture into a 9x13" baking tray. Coat the entire layer with bread crumbs, remaining Parmesan cheese, and basil, in this order. You can also use some butter-flavored cooking spray to add the finishing touch.
- Bake for about 30 minutes until the cheese sizzles and turns golden brown.
Whip up your own delights with these delicious and easy recipes. Experiment with different ingredients and satiate your taste buds.