A few friends are coming over today to watch the game, and we decided to take a different approach to the food situation this year. Rather than having a ton of snack food, we are going to do an actual dinner, and make a night of it! My contribution this year is a twist on a family classic : cheesy layered pasta bake.
I was lucky enough to team up with RAGÚ® to help me create this new dish! If you have never tried RAGÚ® Homestyle Pasta Sauce, you need to do it. Now. I used the Homestyle Thick & Hearty Traditional sauce, and I am seriously in love.
My first-ever attempt to make a recipe out of a cookbook was when I made my aunt’s pasta bake recipe, which was published in a community cookbook through her church. I still have that book (in the background above!^^), as it has recipes from her, my mother, and my grandmother published in it. I like to mark all of theirs with sticky notes, so I can easily find the ones I like the most! 🙂 It’s crazy that I’m now using some of those recipes and adding my own twists.
For instance, I added some really awesome twists to make this cheesy layered pasta bake recipe. This is almost like a traditional pasta bake with a lasagna twist! We start with hot Italian sausage, ground beef, and a hearty, rich pasta sauce.
Combine the meat sauce and angel hair pasta to create the “red layer”. The “white layer”, consists of cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, romano cheese, one egg, and a splash of cream. To create the cheesy layered pasta bake, you simply pour half of the meat sauce and pasta into the dish, then half of the cheese combination, the last half of the meat sauce/pasta, and the last of the cheesy goodness. Four layers in total, finally topped with mozzarella cheese. Mmmmm.
If you want the beautiful, bubbly, cheesy look, simply broil it for a couple of minutes after it’s done baking. I think this adds SO much to the presentation, and I love the added flavor and texture of the crunchy, cooked mozzarella!
I can’t wait for you to try this recipe, and I would love to know what you think!
favorite pasta bake
For the Red Layer
- 3 cups cooked angel hair pasta about 3 dry servings
- 1 Tbsp. garlic minced
- 1/2 cup white onion finely chopped
- 5 oz. hot italian sausage
- 5 oz. ground beef
- 1 jar Ragu Homestyle Thick & Hearty Traditional Pasta Sauce
- 1 tsp. basil
- 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
For the White Layer
- 1 cup small curd cottage cheese
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup romano cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- Cook angel hair in salted water until al dente. Drain, and set aside.
- Set oven to 375 degrees. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add onion, garlic, italian sausage, and ground beef. Cook until all beef and sausage bits are browned, then drain off excess liquids. Return the pan to the stovetop, add pasta sauce, basil, and crushed red pepper. Stir to combine, then let simmer for 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- In a large bowl, combine cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, romano cheese, and egg. Whisk until fully combined. Add cream, and whisk to combine again.
- After the meat sauce has simmered for 15 minutes, add cooked angel hair pasta directly to the meat sauce, and mix in the pasta to fully coat every noodle.
- In a medium-sized oven safe dish, (mine is 9" x 7" x 2.5" deep) - add half of the pasta and meat layer, or "red layer". Use the tongs to flatten it down, so it has a flat, even top. Pour half of the "white layer" directly onto the red layer, and evenly spread it. Repeat with another red layer, and a final white layer.
- Sprinkle mozzarella cheese to cover the top surface, and then bake for 25 minutes at 375.
- The edges should be browned. Remove from the oven, and change your heat setting to "low broil". Broil your pasta bake for 2-3 minutes, or until the mozzarella cheese is browning and bubbly.
- Remove from the oven, and serve hot!
You can also use spaghetti, linguine, or any longer pasta. I personally prefer angel hair, and I think it works nicely with this recipe.