Rotini Al Forno

Usually, this meal would be called something along the lines of baked spaghetti. But I didn’t have enough of the long noodles when I was making this, so I ended up with baked rotini instead.

It’s all pasta in the end, right? My stomach and taste buds thought so.

When I took a bite of rotini, it was meaty, saucy and dense. All with that layer of baked cheese on top.

Hungry yet?

Hungry yet?

This started after I got thinking about the baked spaghetti I used to eat as a kid. We would have it with long noodles and my mom would put slices of American cheese on top just before it came out of the oven. It was soo yummy.

When I realized I haven’t had it in years, I decided to make it … with a couple of Feaston twists. Thinking about it a little more thoroughly, the twists are mainly due to a lack of ingredients. I didn’t have spaghetti noodles, so I used rotini. I didn’t have American cheese, so I used Parmesan.

Trust me, it is delicious both ways.

The thing I like about this recipe is the baking. It really makes the sauce extra thick and sort of dries the whole dish out a bit. It’s a different texture than just straight up pasta with meat sauce.

There isn’t too much to this recipe, but to begin, get some water boiling in a pot big — enough to hold an entire box of pasta (you’ll have yummy leftovers if you are cooking for two). While that is doing it’s thing, get 1 pound of ground beef browning.

Just straight up brown the beef. No tricks. No peppers or onions. No fancy spices. Those will come later.

Sizzle, sizzle Beef-A-Reno.

Sizzle, sizzle Beef-A-Reno.

Drain the beef when it’s ready and put it back in the pan. If you’re water is boiling by this point, mind your pasta according to the directions on the box.

While the pasta is cooking, toss the beef back in the pan, along with at least one jar of your favorite tomato sauce ( I ended up using two, because we’re pigs for sauce).

These are what I used. That sauce is an all time favorite.

These are what I used. That sauce is an all-time favorite.

Once your noods are done, drain them and return them to the pot. Throw all of your sauce and meat in there and mix it up good like. Now you need a baking pan. I ended up using a pan that I measured to be 7.5 by 11 inches. It’s smaller than a standard size pan. You don’t want to spread the pasta too thin.

Dump it all in there. I initially covered the whole thing with Parmesan cheese and baked it for 35 minutes at 375 degrees. However, if I was making it again, I would wait until the last 10 minutes or so to throw on the cheese. The way I made it you get baked cheese flavor and the suggested way you get melty cheese. It’s your pick. Choose wisely.

This will  make leftovers, unless you forgot to eat both breakfast and lunch when you’re making this. I had them at work the next day cold. There is something about cold pasta that I cannot resist.

With all of the meat, this can be a heavier dish. If you want something lighter, check out Feaston’s vegetable primavera.

Or if beef isn’t your thing but you still want pasta, how about the popular cheater chicken alfredo? Or Feaston’s simple chicken parm.

Hey, you got options! But if you’re looking for a fillilng dinner fast, pasta is definitely the way to go.


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