I don’t know about anyone else, but when Sunday rolls around, I’m rarely prepared with a dinner dish in mind for that night. I’m still in weekend mode – and weekend mode does not include stops to the grocery store and slaving in the kitchen, let alone thinking about the upcoming week.
However, as my gram would say, sometimes you got to put on your big girl pants and deal with it (life? grocery store? not watching another Law and Order rerun?). So in my search for a good start to our dinner schedule, I found a pasta casserole dish from Giada DeLaurentiis. The dish seemed easy enough and tasty to boot. Annnnd, we weren’t disappointed. The meal was excellent and this dish will be making a regular rotation in our meals.
This dish makes enough for two meals – so be sure to freeze the leftovers for another night.
Baked Spicy Macaroni, c/o Giada Delaurentiis
1 lb elbow macaroni (I used whole wheat)
3 TBSP olive oil
1/2 lb assorted mushrooms, quartered
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, with juice
1 10 oz package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 C bread crumbs
1/2 C & 1/3 C grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 C & 1/3 C grated Romano cheese2 TBSP butter, softened, plus 2 TBSP cold butter (cut into pieces)
12 oz mozzarella cheese, cubed
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until tender, but still firm (about 8-10 minutes). Remove from heat and drain.
In a large pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic, mushrooms and onion. Cook until mushrooms are tender and onions are translucent, about 7 minutes. Add tomatoes, spinach and red pepper flakes and cook for another 5 minutes.
In a small bowl, mix bread crumbs and 1/2 C each of Parmesan and Romano cheeses.
Take 2 TBSP of softened butter and spread on bottom of casserole dish. Sprinkle half of bread crumb/cheese mixture over butter.
Meanwhile, stir pasta, vegetable mix, nutmeg, and mozzarella cheese together. Add salt and pepper to taste.* Spoon into casserole dish and sprinkle remaining bread crumb/cheese mixture. Add remaining butter to top of dish.
Bake for 35-40 minutes. Serve.
*I added some milk to the dish so there would be moisture in it as it baked.