Baked Pasta with Meat Sauce

11 Jan

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This name sounds very ordinary but this dish is extraordinary! I’m open to suggestions on how to spruce of the name. This is a great make ahead dish to keep in the freezer for an effortless homemade meal. The slow-cooked sauce develops such great flavors as it sits, so make it a day or two before you plan to make the baked pasta.

Time: 45 minutes hands-on               Serves: 12

Ingredients


  • Meat Sauce


  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound mild/sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced small
  • 3 celery stalks, diced small
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed & roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp dried parsley
  • 2 tbsp dried basil
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp Lawry’s seasoning salt
  • 6 dry bay leaves
  • 28 oz. can diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 28 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 16 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • Béchamel Sauce


  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 16 oz. mushrooms, sliced or diced
  • 1/4 cup flour (I used a Gluten Free baking mix to keep it wheat free)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan Gouda blend cheese
  • The Rest


  • 16 oz. short cut pasta, cooked al dente (I used quinoa and corn elbows, again to keep the dish wheat free)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan Gouda blend cheese

How to make it


  • Meat Sauce


  • Pour 1/4 cup water in bottom of a large medium stock pot, you’ll want about 1/4 inch. Heat over medium. Add ground beef and Italian sausage. Cook for a few minutes.
  • Next, add onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Add parsley, basil and oregano and cook, stirring, until beef is browned all over and vegetables are tender, about 7-10 minutes.
  • Add Lawry’s and stir. Then, add bay leaves and remaining ingredients. Bring to a gentle boil, then turn to simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally for at least 2 hours. Tastes best after sitting, so allow to cool, and refrigerate overnight.
  • Béchamel Sauce


  • Heat 3 tbsp butter over medium heat in a large skillet or medium saucepan. Add mushrooms and saute for about 7-9 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt & pepper.
  • Add flour and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes until lightly browned. Slowly whisk in milk. Add nutmeg. Cook for about 3 minutes until thickened. Add cheese and stir. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  • The Rest


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray.
  • In a very large mixing bowl or stock pot, combine meat sauce and cooked pasta. Toss well.
  • Pour mixture into baking dish. Pour béchamel sauce over top evenly. Top with grated cheese. Cover and bake in middle rack of oven for 40 minutes.
  • Switch oven to broil at 425F. Uncover and place on top rack under broiler. Broil for about 4 minutes, until top is golden brown and lightly crisp. Check every minute or two to see that it does not burn. Remove from oven and let set for 10 minutes before serving.

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