Baked Pasta with Meat Sauce

I have a cold that’s slowly morphing into a sinus infection.  So, in other words, I feel like crap.  But I still have to eat and I still have to feed my family.  The two year old’s not going to skip dinner because I feel garbage.  I don’t want anything too overwhelmingly spicy or anything too bland.  Pasta with meat sauce falls right into that zone.

Unfortunately, my camera battery is dead, so I have no photographic evidence of this meal.  Which is just as well because my insurance agent showed up at the house for an appointment we forgot, so dinner got a little crispy in the oven.  It looks unappetizing, but it tastes good.

Bakes Pasta with Meat Sauce

  • 1 lb box short pasta, like ziti or penne (I used penne)
  • 1 28 oz can peeled ground tomatoes
  • 1 28 oz can tomato puree
  • 1 lb ground turkey or lean beef (I used turkey)
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • splash of red wine
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • dash of sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Set a large pot of water to boil.  When water is at a rolling boil, add pasta and cook 3 minutes shy of al dente.

In a large dutch oven, cook ground turkey over medium high heat until no longer pink and turkey is in crumbles.  Add garlic and onion powders, dried herbs, and salt & pepper, stirring to coat the meat.

Add both cans of tomato puree and ground peeled tomatoes and stir to incorporate the tomatoes with the meat.  Stir in tomato paste, sugar, and red wine.  Let simmer for 15-20 minutes.  (This is a fast sauce; it’s not meant to sit on the stove for hours)

In a large bowl, combine pasta and meat sauce.  Add the sauce one ladle at a time so you can judge how saucy you want your meal.  I actually had two cups and a smidge left over because I didn’t want the casserole to be too liquidy.

Transfer mixture to a large baking dish.  Cover with cheeses and bake in a 375 oven until cheese is hot and bubbly and slightly browned.

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About Kristin

I never thought I would love to cook. I did everything I could to avoid learning to cook. But somewhere along the line, cooking became less of a chore and more of a way to relax and be creative. Not everything I make is a smashing success, but I've had more successes than failures. After months of trading recipes with my friends through Facebook and email, I've decided to collect all my favorites here and also document my attempts at new adventures in cooking, too.
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