Pasta has been long present and dates back to the ancient times. They come in various shapes and flavors that end up getting people confused. Though there is no real distinguishable difference between the tastes of every kind, they look a certain way for a purpose. Take for instance, fettuccine noodles. They are thick, flat and heavy because they are deemed to be soul mates with certain types of sauces like thick cheeses or béchamel. On the other hand, the elbow shapes of macaroni noodles are designed that way to blend with soups and some types of salads.
If you and your family are getting sick of the repetitive spaghetti dinners, you actually have a lot of other options to choose from. And these types of pastas do not have to be hard on your pocket or budget. But if you want to start with the basics and not go far from your usual spaghetti recipe, you might want to try using penne pasta.
Penne is one type of pasta that is cylinder in shape. Depending on which country or state it is produced, the surface of the pasta may vary. Some are smooth while others are manufactured with ridges. Nonetheless, they are all the same when it comes to versatility because they go well with pretty much all types of sauces, most especially marinara and pesto.
What makes penne an excellent choice when it comes to pasta alternatives is the fact that its hollow and cylinder design enables it to absorb more sauce and even hold it in the hole. So if your kids love your sauce and you want to add a little more excitement to their meal, a penne pasta recipe would be the best one for you.
For penne-user beginners, a baked penne casserole would be the easiest to try with this type of pasta. It’s easy to do and your kids will surely love it because of it’s creamy tomato based sauce and the extra cheese that oozes from the top to bottom of the pan.
To get yourself started on your penne pasta casserole, you will need the following ingredients and materials.
- 8 ounces of Penne pasta
- Half a pound of ground beef (you can opt for ground chicken or pork if you prefer it better)
- 1 jar of your kid’s favorite pasta sauce (if you make the sauce on your own, prepare around 3 cups of that.)
- Grated mozzarella cheese (lots of it)
- Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Chopped fresh parsley
- Deep baking dish
Looks easy, doesn’t it? Now on to the procedures of making your baked penne casserole.
- Cook your pasta al dente. You wouldn’t want your penne casserole to come out soggy from the oven, so to avoid this do not overcook your pasta and drain it well once it is cooked.
- Cook your ground beef or meat. Stir-fry in a pan till the meat is well cooked. To add taste, you can season it will salt and pepper to enhance it’s flavor on the pan.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Mix your ingredients together. Once your meat is cooked, mix it together with your sauce and a cup of your mozzarella cheese (you can add more if you want a richer casserole.) Add your cooked penne pasta afterwards and stir.
- Transfer the mixture to a baking dish. Once all your ingredients are stirred well, pour everything on to your baking dish and pop it in the oven for roughly 30 minutes with a lid on top.
- Sprinkle MORE cheese. After 30 minutes, remove your baking dish from the oven and sprinkle your remaining mozzarella cheese. For garnish, sprinkle with parsley.
- Bake for another 10-15 minutes. After adding the final toppings on your dish, pop it back into your oven for another 10-15 minutes just till the cheese is melted and has turned golden brown.
So what are you waiting for? Make your kids, family and friends drool over this cheesy dish.