Please tell me I’m not the only one that despite well made dinner and menu plans often gets to the dinnertime hour wondering what happened to the aforementioned plan. Sometimes time simply gets away from me, sometimes the level of chaos in my home completely fries whatever plan was made in the first place, sometimes the sheer number of children I have hanging onto my legs at any given time prevents me from following through with the plan due to my inability to move outside of a 6-inch radius, and believe it or not, sometimes the plan never was made in the first place (gasp!). In those moments, despite my wish for some superhero to come flying through the window to rescue me from my dinner woes, I realize I have to put on my game face and figure out dinner.
That’s why I’m in love with this here Pasta al Forno (a fancy name for baked pasta). Seriously. This meal is as close as I will ever get to that unattainable superhero coming to my rescue (well, this meal and these 39 others). It’s fast. It requires fairly minimal prep and baking. It uses ingredients I nearly always have in my pantry and refrigerator and when I serve it, I don’t get one single complaint from the hungry mouths devouring it. If that’s not a superhero success, I don’t know what is. Simple, classically delicious in flavor and ingredients and pretty much perfect for a pre-planned dinner or for a last-minute rescue op.
P.S. Winners were announced here for the giveaway this week!
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 2 (14-ounces each) cans diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pound penne pasta or other tube-shaped pasta
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes
- 2/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- In a large pot of lightly salted water, cook the pasta until al dente according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, in a 10- or 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for one minute, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the tomatoes (undrained), oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is slightly thickened. Add additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed.
- After draining the pasta, return the noodles to the pot and pour in the sauce. Toss to combine. Lightly coat a 9X13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Place half of the pasta in the dish. Sprinkle half of the Parmesan and half of the mozzarella cubes over the top. Top with remaining pasta. Sprinkle remaining cheeses over the top. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes until hot and bubbly.