I know you're all thinking, 87 degree weather and 60 % humidity... and you turned the oven on? No, no dear bloggers. My AC was pumping cold, crisp air throughout the house all day. And when I was stuck on what to make for dinner, this is the first dish that popped up in my head. It's hearty, satisfying, and easy to prepare. I got the recipe from my mother, who by the way cooks without measurements, so I used my cooking sense along with my photographic memory of watching her cook, to make up my own. That kind of felt like a run-on sentence. Oh well. Bottom line- my penne came out just as wonderful as hers. You can make baked penne with meat, chicken, or even veggies if you choose to follow the healthy route. As for me, simple tomato sauce, pasta, and cheese works just great.
2 ¼ cups of penne rigati
One tablespoon of oil
1 ½ teaspoons salt
For the sauce:
3 garlic cloves
2 and ½ tablespoons oil
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon salt
3 oz. of tomato paste
½ cup mozzarella cheese, for topping
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to boil. When it boils, add salt, oil, and penne. Cook for about 20-25 minutes on medium/high heat. Make sure to stir it in the beginning so the pasta doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot. When it’s cooked, drain and set aside.
Peel and finely chop the garlic and throw it in a small saucepan. Add oil and herbs/spices and sauté on medium heat for about 2-3 minutes. Add tomato paste, and then add about 3 cups of water. Stir it for a little bit till it comes to a boil, then cook on medium heat for 15-20 minutes.
When the sauce is done, add the penne to it and mix well. Transfer the penne to a small round baking pan, sprinkle with cheese, and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.