TOMATO, BASIL AND HAM BAKED PASTA
Yield: 6 servings
1 pound pasta of your favorite
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups cubed ham (optional)
1 (28-ounce) can crushed Italian tomatoes
Salt and pepper
1 cup store bought basil pesto sauce
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt the water. Add pasta and cook the pasta to al dente doneness which means that the pasta will still have a bite to it or be a little chewy. I usually shave a minute or so off the boxed directions.
Preheat a deep, big skilletor a medium sauce pot over medium heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil to the pan, add garlic, onions, and cook, stirring a lot, for 5 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the ham (optional) and tomatoes to the onions and stir. When the tomatoes come to a bubble, reduce the heat to low.
Preheat your broiler to high and place the oven rack in the center of the oven.
Drain pasta and transfer it to a 9×13 casserole dish. Top with pesto sauce, ricotta cheese, and Parmesan cheese. Stir carefully and coat the hot pasta with the pesto and cheeses. Pour the hot tomato and basil sauce over the pasta, as much as you like. You can always serve a little extra at the table, to pass around or use it for personal pizzas.
Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the pasta and broil it for 2-3 minutes, until the mozzarella cheese has melted. Remove from oven and serve immediately.
Note: I put in ham, salami and bacon. I also made only half the recipe. I had some 50g of ham, so added 140g bacon and maybe 100g salami. Honestly, I kept adding till it looked like there was enough! obviously I halved everything else.
Was absolutely lovely.