This was a recipe clipped out of a magazine by my mother back in the 90’s. THE 90s! Over a decade ago! eeek. I always enjoyed this recipe and missed it when I turned vegetarian. It popped into my mind awhile back and I was craving it like mad, even though it’s very meaty! I was in the mood for comfort food today and this really fulfilled my craving. It was easy to make vegetarian and didn’t lose any of its original pizazz. I love recipes that are easily tweaked to your own tastes–recipes are only a starting point, not an end! Thanks to Anchor-Hocking for the recipe. Too bad I cooked it in a Pyrex dish 🙂
Quick-Baked Pasta Family Style
- 2 tbsp olive oil (I got away with a quick spray of Pam and a non-stick pan)
- 1 package Gimme Lean! Ground Beef style (or 16oz of your favorite veggie crumble)
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 3/4 cup red marinara or spaghetti sauce
- 3/4 cup vegetable gravy (See Notes on how to quickly make)
- 1/2 cup half and half (didn’t have any – just used almond milk)
- 1/4 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese, grated (optional! I omitted)
- 1 tsp dried whole oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried whole rosemary
- Salt & pepper – to taste
- 3/4 lb whole wheat penne pasta
Topping: 1 cup mozzarella (used Daiya vegan cheese – SO GOOD) & good portion of Italian seasoned breadcrumbs (adds a nice crunch!)
Bring a pot of water to boil. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a frying pan with oil or spray and add garlic and green onions – cook until soft and smelling lovely. Add Gimme Lean and work into smaller chunks as it heats up. When “meat” has been worked into smaller pieces, add the rest of the ingredients except for pasta and topping. Let simmer for a few minutes. Taste to make sure it’s delightful.
Drain pasta! Dump everything into a 3-quart baking dish and mix well. Add topping, cheese first and breadcrumbs on top. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes or until nice and bubbly. Supposedly serves 6 people, but the significant other and I devoured the majority of it easily. Tasty things go fast!
- Ridiculously easy and quick vegetable gravy: Mix a couple tablespoons of cornstarch or arrowroot powder with water. Take a cup of vegetable broth. Dump both into small saucepan and heat til boiling, stirring constantly. It will thicken. Voila! Gravy. Unexciting gravy, yes, but it works for this recipe! 🙂
- Vegetables could definitely make this an even healthier, heartier dish – eggplant, zucchini, fresh diced tomatoes…but I didn’t want that. I had a hankering for starchy, creamy, cheesy goodness and I got it!
- Daiya vegan cheese shreds are my new favorite vegan cheese. They went with this dish great, melted well and mixed wonderfully with the crunchy breadcrumbs.
I’m in the midst of reading Laura Shapiro’s biography on Julia Child. I love reading anything about Julia Child and am completely engrossed in it. She was such a whimsical, ridiculous person and I admire her a great deal. After reading her memoir “My Life in France” (I HIGHLY RECOMMEND), she has become one of my heroes in the food world. I grew up watching her and Jacques Pepin cook together and always found her to be somewhat absurd and brilliant at the same time. Anyone else have foodie heroes? 🙂