One of the challenges I have developed, as I grow my culinary knowledge and experience, is that sometimes simple is just plain good. I love to think through recipe ideas and develop flavors over a couple of days for certain dishes. You know, the old adage that many dishes are better the next day. This concept is quite true. So is its corollary – simple and easy is good too (I just made that up).
When my daughter and I were putting this dish together, I had the Casserole Connection audience in mind. This is a very useful website with many recipes and a lot of easy recipes for busy people or for home cooks just learning to cook.
If you have fresh ingredients including herbs and/or spices, you can create great flavor and a very tasty dish in no time. This Pasta Pesto Bake is an example of a very tasty dish you can whip up in no time. Now, I made my own Pesto (second pesto link) which maybe added 2 or 3 minutes to the prep time of this dish. I also used up my Pesto Compound Butter I had made but this step is not necessary though it certainly deepened the flavor. You can easily buy pesto at the store, and then this Pasta Pesto Bake becomes a 5 ingredients recipe.
How easy can this be? Separately make your noodles and put in a baking dish when al dente. Next, combine pesto, tomatoes and tomato sauce and mix it all up. Then pour the noodles into the pesto and tomatoes and mix again. Finish by tossing in a good amount of cheese being sure to mix and put an extra layer of cheese on the top. Throw it in the oven to get a nice browning on the top.
- 1 lb pasta (noodle of choice)
- Pesto (mine was homemade - see link - but you can buy in store too)
- 1 - 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
- 1 - 29 oz can of tomato sauce
- 1 - 2 cups of mozzarella cheese
- Prepare the noodles per the box instructions. Drain and add to the baking dish.
- If the pesto is not store bought, see link in post.
- Add the pesto and compound butter to the cooked noodles. Mix well.
- Add the tomatoes and the tomato sauce and mix well.
- Finish by adding the cheese in 2 steps. Mix a little into the whole dish but put the majority on the top to get that crisp cheese topping.
- Bake in a 325 degree oven for 5 minutes. Just to get a good melt on the cheese.
- Then, turn the oven to high broil and brown the cheese.
- Serve and enjoy!
Noodles in Baking Dish.
Pesto & Pesto Butter Added.
Tomato Sauce Added.