Baked Pasta with Three Cheese & Tomato Sauces

by byn on February 13, 2011

in Pasta & Noodles

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We all know by now how I feel about the Golden Globes; they are my Superbowl.  Kristine and Nicole were both away for them this year, so I kicked it with Mom & Dad and we had a good time watching together, after we had a chat about not spontaneously changing channels to football during the red carpet (Dad!) and needing to get more excited about the dresses (Mom!). We actually made this Sweet & Sour Chicken for dinner and it was incredible – fitting I mention it now after two posts on making junk food at home.

So with all the girls back in the country, we got together for the Screen Actor’s Guild awards a few weeks ago. In my opinion, the SAGs are nowhere near as fun to watch as the Golden Globes, except for the corny “I’m an actor” speeches at the beginning. But that’s okay, it left us lots of time to catch up and eat.

This baked pasta dish has a really cute name and story behind it, but neither are mine; you have to head over to Gwendolyn’s blog to get the background. I’ve had my eye on it for a while, and knew it would be perfect for this night, because you can prep it in the morning, and then just pop it into the oven when your guests arrive. I’m a fan because I don’t really like straight up mac n’ cheese – it’s too rich for me (shocking I know). In this recipe there’s a thick layer of tomato sauce that you pour into the baking dish first, then you put the pasta with cheese sauce on top. Perfect! Although *spoiler alert* you will use your three biggest pots for to make this, so put your dishwasher (man or machine) on notice. We ate this with a caesar salad (homemade dressing here), and everyone took some home for lunch the next day.

Grammys are up next this Sunday, but we actually don’t watch those together as there’s too much filler. They’re better to watch the next day and just skip through the performances of all the people you hate. Oscars are the final stop in awards show season – mark your calendar for the 27th!

Baked Pasta with Three Cheese & Tomato Sauces

Source: Patent & The Pantry

Ingredients

Tomato Sauce

1 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 28oz can diced tomatoes (the original recipe uses whole tomatoes that you have to cut, I just skipped this by using diced)

1 14oz can crushed tomatoes

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

pinch sugar

1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped (the basil in my grocery store is a disgusting mess right now because it’s not in season, I just used some dried oregano)

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Three Cheese Sauce

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup butter

5 cups grated cheese (I used white cheddar, asiago and parmesan)

3 cups milk (I used 1%)

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

+ 500g tubular pasta (I used rigatoni), cooked and drained

Directions

  1. For tomato sauce, heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and saute until translucent. Add garlic and saute for about 1 more minute. Stir in the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and sugar and let the whole thing simmer over low heat as you make everything else. Add some salt and pepper, and stir in your fresh or dried herbs.
  2. Get your pasta going in the biggest pot you have, cook until al dente, drain and set aside.
  3. For the three cheese sauce, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. When it starts to bubble, add the flour, whisk together, and cook for a few minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Keep stirring until it starts to thicken, then add 4 cups of grated cheese. Stir until the cheese melts, then add salt and pepper, remove from heat, and add your cooked pasta. Stir until coated.
  4. To assemble, pull out a big corningware pan (I got a set for Christmas, hurrah!), casserole dish, or glass baking pan. Pour all of the tomato sauce into the dish, and then gently spoon the pasta over top. Sprinkle with the remaining cup of grated cheese, cover (with lid or tin foil) at 425 for 45 minutes. Remove the cover, and bake for another 10-20 minutes until the top begins to brown.

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