Aaaanyhoo, I checked out S&D and wouldn'tcha know it, there was a fresh new post--yay! So...long story short, with no eggplant to make the recipe that Diana provided, I decided to improvise! Here is the result of my baked penne with "crap I found in the fridge that I really needed to use up":
I really had no intention of blogging about this in length. It wasn't until about halfway through, when I mixed the par-boiled veggies with the sausage did I realize that hey, this is looking and smelling kind of good. When I added in the garlic powder and Mrs. Dash and then finally the 365 Organics Roasted Garlic tomato sauce, I realized I should have taken in-process photos. Oh well!
What I do have are photos of the baked mess pre-oven:And after 20 minutes baking and 5 minutes under the broiler:I cannot tell you how happy I am with how this turned out. It was a great way to use random veggies in my fridge and a bunch of cheese that I just had around. (It's very rare that I have cheese in my house. We're not big cheese eaters...unless it's brie and then I eat it as if the world's about to end.)
Anyway, since I was making this pasta bake casserole rather haphazardly, the amount of ingredients is rather dubious but I'll list 'em anyway:
Use-It-Up Penne Pasta Bake (inspired by Diana's Bad Ass Baked Ziti from Soap & Chocolate)
- 1/2 box of Catelli Smart penne rigate (I don't have the box handy so I don't know how much that amounts to but whatever amount you think will fit a medium-to-large casserole dish will do. Wow, that direction is just awesome. Not.)
- 3/4 of a head of broccoli, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
- couple handfuls of baby carrots, cut into thirds
- 5 maple pork breakfast sausages with the casing removed (I know this sounds really excessive but these had been in the fridge for far too long so instead of just using two or three, I just went with all)
- 1 organic pork patty (again, I know this is a lot of meat but it was in the fridge defrosting for a few days and I didn't think it would last much longer)
- 1/2 jar of 365 Organics Roasted Garlic tomato sauce (or whatever your favourite tomato sauce is. I used this one because I had it on hand and it doesn't contain evil sulphites.)
- parmesan cheese
- 1/2 large ball of fresh Buffalo mozzarella (this may seem really excessive and fancy but I only used this specific type of cheese because again, it was in the fridge and it's Best Before date was coming up)
- garlic powder, to taste
- Mrs. Dash, to taste (or other seasoning powder)
- Preheat oven to 350F. My oven is faster at preheating than I am at cooking so I tend to preheat my oven later down the line. You can do this now or do it later like me :)
- Boil pasta according to directions on box. Mine said to boil for 11 minutes for al dente. If you have more than one working burner, halfway through your pasta would be a good time to boil/steam your broccoli and carrots for about 3-5 minutes. (I currently only have one working burner so I waited until after the pasta was done. A waste of time but I had no other choice.) Once cooked, set veggies and pasta aside.
- Heat up some olive oil (I always use extra virgin olive oil for my cooking but that's rather long to type out so I always type olive oil.) Add in sausage sans casing and pork patty. Cook until well done though you don't have to cook it all the way through since you'll be sticking it in the oven. I'm paranoid so I cooked it until brown anyway. This took about...7 to 8 minutes?
- Add in veggies and stir.
- Add in garlic powder and Mrs. Dash and stir.
- Add in tomato sauce and stir.
- Add in pasta and stir.
- Add in cheeses and stir. At this point your arm will be tired but do not give up--the results will be worth it.
- Dump everything into a 9x13" casserole dish and bake for 20 minutes. Then broil for another five minutes.
- Dump a huge piece on a plate. Grab a fork and dig in!