By Kate Kole
I used to be a ‘different night, different dinner’ kind of gal. I’d hop into the grocery store on my way home from teaching a yoga class to see what I was in the mood to make and have that evening.
Then…I had a kid. And I became a ‘how many nights of leftovers will this make?’ kind of person.
Enter our family favorite penne pasta bake. My mom even called it “restaurant quality”. But then again, my mom told me that my elementary school artwork was impressive. So, I suppose, take her review with a grain of salt.
We don’t eat meat around here, and this one’s vegetarian. That being said you could easily add whatever you’d like to make it a crowd pleaser at your place. Dare I say, you could even sneak in some extra vegetables. Or, you could be like me and count tomato basil marinara as a serving of veggies.
- 12 oz soy chorizo (optional)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 16 oz penne pasta
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 32 oz marinara pasta sauce
- 16 oz ricotta cheese
- 4 cups mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup parmesan cheese (optional)
- Heat oven to 350F and spray 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- Cook pasta according to the directions on the box.
- As pasta is being boiled, cook chorizo and onion over medium heat 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- In a separate mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, eggs, 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, salt, and pepper.
- Once pasta is cooked and drained, stir in marinara sauce, chorizo, and onion.
- Pour half of pasta mixture into the bottom of your baking dish.
- Incorporate ricotta mixture evenly.
- Add the remaining pasta mixture and sprinkle with 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, plus optional ½ cup of parmesan cheese.
- Spray foil with cooking spray to cover the dish and bake for 40 minutes.
- If you prefer the cheese to brown a bit at the edges, and golden on top, remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
The next step is the best step: sit down and eat, knowing that your dinner for the next 2-3 nights is already prepared!
I should note, I’m no food blogger (as evidenced by my iPhone pictures), am definitely more of a baker than a chef, and it’s only in recent years that I’ve really tried my hand at cooking. So, I can say with confidence, that any meal I make is definitely in the ‘simple and easy’ category. All that to say, feel confident in knowing that you can serve this dish with success.
Tell us: What’s your favorite weeknight meal?