Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Penne Bell Pepper Bake

With free time on my unemployed hands, I've become some what of a burgeoning chef. (My old roommate will be sorry she ran off to law school after she sees this post!) I've taken to experimenting in the kitchen, trying new recipes, and revamping old ones. Pasta has been my first foray into wild recipe revamping. I updated a recipe for Baked Penne I found in the book The Working Stiff Cookbook by Bob Sloan and illustrated by Michael Klein. The book's recipe uses mushrooms which my boyfriend isn't very fond of, so I've made a new version using some of the veggies he does like.

And for anyone who knows me personally, don't worry! I haven't changed that much... I still won't eat pasta with sauce. It's still buttered noodles with parmesan cheese for me!

My adapted recipe is given below. Go on and give it a try. Let me know how you like it!

Penne Bell Pepper Bake
1 lb. dried Penne
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
(Recommended: Roundy's Organic Crushed Tomatoes with Basil)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 medium Red Bell pepper - diced
1 medium Green Bell pepper - diced
2 cups shredded Mozzarella
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons salt
a dash of black pepper
1 cup Ricotta

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 casserole dish. Prepare Penne according to directions on the box.
While waiting for the water to boil, stir together the following ingredients in a separate bowl: tomatoes, cream, red and green peppers, mozzarella, garlic, salt, and black pepper. Save a handful of the diced bell pepper and a pinch of the shredded mozzarella as a garnish to be added later.
After the Penne is cooked through, drain the pasta in a colander and add pasta into the tomato mixture. Stir together slowly, making sure the pasta is well distributed. Carefully pour the mixture into the casserole dish using a spatula. Spoon and spread the ricotta cheese on top. Bake in center rack of the the oven for 15-20 minutes. Once the sauce begins to bubble, you know you're done.
Remove from oven and allow the dish to cool a few moments before serving. Add bell pepper and mozzarella garnish and serve! Makes 6-8 servings. Leftovers keep very well in the refrigerator too!

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