Is there anything more comforting than warm, cheesy pasta on a rainy night? I don't think so. Which is why Monday, was past bake night. This is my fastest bake, it is something similar to baked ziti, but with penne and very little effort. What came out of the oven was hot and delicious and beyond comforting, the perfect end to a rainy day.
Penne Pasta Bake:
1 Lb penne pasta
2 cups of pasta sauce (my recipe can be found here, but you need a lot less than that makes, so adjust accordingly, 1 15 oz can as the base of the sauce is plenty, but make more if you want extra sauce on the side (totally optional))
15 oz of ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1/2 cup of grated/shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup of mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make pasta according to box directions for al dente. In the mean time make the sauce (or heat your favorite jarred version). Mix ricotta and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl. Salt and pepper to taste, then beat egg into mixture. Pour cooked noodles into a large glass baking dish, you want the pasta spread relatively thin. Cover with sauce and stir. Stir in cheese mixture so it is evenly distributed and the pasta is same thickness throughout the pan. Top with the mozzarella and some additional Parmesan (if you want). Bake for about 30 minutes uncovered. The top cheese will be melted, but not browned and everything should be very hot. Move the oven rack towards the top and turn on the broiler. Broil for 3-4 minutes until top layer is browned and a bit crispy. Be careful with the broiler, it is so easy to destroy things (I have so many, many times). Serve and enjoy.
Because this bake doesn't have a lot of sauce, it stays together really well in the oven and isn't one of those best the next day or make in advance bakes. Don't get me wrong, it taste great the next day, but it is definitely better the right from the oven unlike it's pastalicious brothers and sisters.