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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Beef and Veggie Pasta Bake

Baked pasta with crusty stringy cheese.  Totally simple to put together and hearty.  Unfortunately, it's almost mid-March, it's still snowing and freezing cold outside, so what could be better then staying in and the house filling with the aroma of baked pasta and cheese?  This should be an easy kid favorite, there's as much vegetables as there is pasta, but it's hidden under a layer of delicious cheese.  :-)  Heck, neither Nick and I are kids (we're still kids at heart though), and we still love this.  The leftovers are delicious reheated the next day as well. 

Serves: 8-10
approx prep time: 20min
approx cook time: 40min

- 2 cups leftover roast beef, diced/pulled or 1.5lbs ground beef, browned
- 1 package of Macaroni pasta (375g uncooked) - we used tri-colored pasta that worked quite well
- 3/4 to 1 bottle pasta sauce
- 1 red pepper
- 1 zucchini
- 1 large carrot, or 1 handful baby carrots
- 1 leek
- 2 bunches of green onions
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2tbsp Italian seasoning
- 3tbsp veggie seasoning
- 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup Parmesan

- Dice all the vegetables into roughly 1/4 to 1/2 inch chunks and set aside. Chop or press garlic into very fine pieces and set aside.
- Cook the pasta you're using, per the directions, until it's al dente.
- While the pasta is cooking, saute the vegetables and garlic, along with the olive oil and vegetable seasoning in a fry pan, stirring often.
- Mix half the pasta sauce into the vegetables while still in the fry pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine meat, all the Parmesan cheese and 1 cup cheddar cheese.
- Add drained pasta, Italian seasoning, vegetables and 1 cup of cheese.
- Mix together thoroughly.
- Pour mixture into a large glass baking dish, making sure it's spread out evenly.
- Top the dish with the remaining cheese.
- Bake at 350F for 20min then broil for 3-4min to brown the cheese. Pay close attention to the oven while broiling to avoid burning the top.

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