And whilst I’m on the subject of writing, last week, I got my entries back from the Oklahoma Writer’s Federation contest. I won a big fat zero this year, not even so much as a measly honorable mention. Oh hum. On the plus side, I did get some excellent marks from the judges and some very favorable comments, but I guess others just did better. Oh well, you can’t win them all, and there’s always next year.
And continuing the literary theme, a couple of friends from my writer’s group were recently bemoaning the fact that though they like lasagna, they find it a fiddle to make. I told them I had a much easier pasta bake recipe, personally I prefer it to lasagna, and any leftovers freeze beautifully. So this one’s for you Sharon and Margaret.
If you like you can leave out the baking stage and use this as a pasta sauce. Omit the cheeses, and just sprinkle the finished dish with a little shredded Parmesan.
Pasta Bolognese Bake with Garlic Bread
8 ounces penne pasta
½ tablespoon butter
1 lb. ground sirloin
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 – 3 teaspoons chili powder
1 14½ ounce can whole tomatoes (I used my tomato gloop, you can find that recipe here: http://range-warfare.blogspot.com/2008/08/tomato-gloop-2.html)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
A couple of dashes of Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 level teaspoon sugar
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded (divided)
½ cup sharp cheddar, shredded
Note: Seasonings, spices, and herb quantities are all guesstimates, I just tinker around until it’s how I like it.
Easy Peasy Garlic Bread
½ a French loaf, cut in half lengthwise
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped – use less if you want, but I like garlic bread that tastes of garlic
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, + about 2 teaspoons butter.
Directions for pasta bake:
- Cook pasta for about 5 minutes, drain and set aside.
- Melt butter in a deep-sided skillet, over a medium-high heat, add ground beef and saute until browned.
- Reduce heat to medium, add onion, and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add garlic and chili powder and sauté for a further minute.
- Add canned tomatoes, and break tomatoes in half, bring to a gentle boil. Stir in tomato paste.
- Add Tabasco, Worcestershire sauces, oregano, black pepper, and sugar, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile pre-heat oven to 350F
- Spoon a layer of about a 1/3 of the sauce into an 11x7-inch baking dish and top with ¾ of the mozzarella.
- Stir pasta and mushrooms into remaining sauce, and transfer to baking dish. Top with remaining cheeses and bake for about 20 - 25 minutes, until cheese is bubbly.
- Spread each half of French loaf with approximately 2 teaspoons butter, and place on a baking sheet covered with foil for easy clean up.
- Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Add garlic, and sauté for 1 minute.
- Spoon garlic butter evenly over bread, and set aside.
- When pasta is out of the oven, heat broiler to high.
- Place garlic bread under broiler for 2-3 minutes until bread is golden brown. Keep a close eye on it, as it’s easy to burn it.