This Pasta Bake is Nonna (and Andrea!) approved!
I don’t take my pasta lightly. It really took me yeeeears to ever, ever order anything Italian related, let alone Pasta (a dish very near and dear to this family’s heart) while out at a restaurant, even if it was an Italian place. I just knew it would never compare to anything we made at home…and we had pasta A LOT growing up. And then after I moved out of mom and dad’s, I kinda put good ol’ pasta dishes on the back burner (although I ain’t sayin’ I haven’t made a mean pasta dish over the years…). So much so that the boyfriend legit teases me every time I make it.
We don’t have it often these days but I ain’t even gonna lie, pasta was the first thing thrown into our grocery cart on almost every trip to the grocery store mid pandemic aka NOW. So if there’s one thing the pantry is competely stocked up on, it’s pasta.
CREAM CHEESE PASTA BAKE
This Pasta Bake was actually inspired by the cream cheese I had gotten from a farmer’s market a few weeks back. I had planned to use it in one of my cheesecakes but you know what they say about plans and people that stick to them…. Just kidding, I wouldn’t know cause I don’t.
I decided to go all veg on this one because that’s what I had on hand. I used broccoli and mushrooms but you could throw in whatever you desire, really! You can even use this All Purpose Meat Sauce if that tickles your fancy but either way, this is basically lasanga without all the work and that’s a WIN-WIN in my books.
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS PASTA DISH?
Whatever you have on hand! For me, that was broccoli and mushrooms but your favourite vegetables will work just as well!
CREAM CHEESE PASTA BAKECourse: Main, DinnerCuisine: Italian, VegetarianDifficulty: Easy
Almost like a lasanga – minus the hard work!
What You’ll Need
1 Package Pasta (300g)*
250g Cream Cheese
1 jar Fresh Tomato Sauce (325ml), store bought or homemade
1 head Broccoli, chopped into tiny florets
1 package Mushrooms, sliced
1 small White Onion, diced
2 tbsp Italian Seasoning
1 clove Garlic, minced
2 tbsp Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 tbsp Heavy Cream
2 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a small sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sautee for a few minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and sautee until fragrant, an additional minute or two. Add the tomato sauce and cook, on low heat, until heated through. Add the heavy cream and stir occassionally on very low heat until ready to use.
- Cook pasta according to directions on the package.
- At the same time, boil the broccoli florets for 7 minutes. Sautee the mushrooms over medium heat using the other tbsp of olive oil until cooked through, about 3 minutes.
- Drain the pasta and put back in the pot. Add the cream cheese (leaving aside a few dallops for the top), italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir (I carefully used my hands) until the cheese is melted and all the pasta is coated thoroughly. Add the cooked broccoli and mushrooms and mix until combined.
- In a rectangular baking dish, lay the spaghetti mixture down. Dallop the remaining cream cheese in the corners and middle of the pasta. Cover with tomato sauce, sprinkle with salt, pepper and parmesan and bake for 30 minutes!
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