The easiest pasta (and some of the best tasting) revealed itself to me this evening.
Key components: Sauce, Cheese, Veggies, La Creuset Casserole Dish
Sauce: Ground beef, sauteed/carmelized onions, sauteed garlic, tomato paste, canned tomatoes, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, a slow cooker. Let this simmer together for 7 hours. The lower the heat and the longer the time make all the difference.
Pasta: I used what was left in a box of rotini and a box of penne. Mixing pasta makes the dish look pretty, BUT you need to make sure they cook in the same amount of time. Bring water and salt to a boil. Add pasta, cook for 9 minutes or until al dente.
Veggies: I like spinach, but you can use steamed zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, swiss chard…whatever you will. Add veggies into sauce in the casserole dish and apply low heat. Toss together until veggies wilt.
Back to the pasta: Drain the pasta, add to the sauce/veggie mixture. Turn off the heat and add salt and pepper to taste. Use fresh ground pepper. It’s worth it.
Cheese: My favorite part. I use mini mozzarella balls that are stored in water (keeps them fresher for longer). Dump the mini mozzarella into the heated pasta and sauce mixture. Grate pecorino romano and parmigiano reggiano into the casserole dish. Mix in grated cheese and then top the mixture lightly with a final layer of either cheese.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Insert the covered casserole dish and let it bake for 15-18 minutes. The cheese will be melty and glorious.
If you’re a loner like me, you can eat this for up to 3 days. It makes the perfect easy (and healthy) lunch and dinner.