This one’s from my very dear friend Mikaela. 🙂 I was a little nervous about it at first because I’m really not a casserole fan, and I thought it would be really heavy because of the cheese. NOT SO! It was AAAAAmazing! 🙂 yum!
We took her suggestion to add some meat (but I accidentally added too much, so it didn’t all fit in the pan. It’s ok though, because I had a make-shift spaghetti for lunch the next day with the noodles that didn’t fit. 🙂
- 1 lb. dry pasta (recipe calls for Ziti, but I used rotini… really, any short, sturdy pasta will work)
- 1/2 lb lean ground beef or turkey
- 1- 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1 – 32 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 Tbls. vegetable oil
- 2 Tbls. Fresh chopped basil (or 2 tsp. dried – I used Italian Herb Seasoning instead)
- 1/2 tsp. (or more) salt
- 1/4 tsp. sugar
- 8 oz (2 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup. grated parmesan cheese
Cook pasta according to package in a large pot. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Put back in pot and set aside. In a 12″ skillet, cook ground beef. When done, drain off fat and rinse in a colander and add minced garlic cook until until tender, but do not brown. Add tomatoes and simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Stir in basil, sugar, and salt. Add sauce to the pasta and toss, adding the reserved pasta water as needed to loosen sauce.Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread 1/2 of the pasta mixture into an oiled 9 x 13 baking pan. Sprinkle 1/2 of each type of cheese over the top. Spread the rest of the pasta mixture, then the rest of the cheese. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.