I try to only have meat as the focus about half the time when I am mapping out dinners for the week. It’s good for your health and your budget (and the environment)! And for those meals that I make with meat, I try to make sure that it’s high quality from somewhere like Butcher Box or our farmers’ market.
How many days a week do you try to eat meatless meals? How about meals that use just a little bit of meat for flavoring (instead of being the focus of the meal)? You can get most of the same benefits by just cutting back rather than giving it up altogether.
Can you put uncooked pasta in the oven?
I mean, you could, but I wouldn’t recommend it! Unless it’s specifically a “no-boil” thin lasagne noodle, I would recommend boiling your pasta, at least until it’s al dente (i.e., almost done), before you add it to any casserole that you plan to bake in the oven. I used curly pasta in this recipe, mainly because my kids like it, but a similar sized substitute (such as penne) would work just as well!
Curly Pasta & Zucchini Bake
- 1 16 ounce bag whole-grain pasta curly
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium zucchini ends trimmed and cut into 1" chunks, can also sub eggplant
- 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup mozzarella shredded
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese plus extra for garnish (optional)
- 1 large handful fresh basil chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Boil the pasta and drain a few minutes before the recommended time on the package (al dente). Set aside.
- In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Saute the zucchini while stirring occasionally until it is tender when pierced with a fork, about 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl mix together the crushed tomatoes, heavy cream, cheeses, basil, salt, and pepper then stir in the pasta and zucchini.
- Pour into a large rectangular baking dish. Garnish with dollops of ricotta cheese (if desired) and bake until bubbly, about 20 minutes.
- Flip the oven to the broiler setting and cook until the cheese on top is golden brown, about 1 to 2 more minutes. Serve warm.