I’m definitely a pasta fan. It’s extremely hard for me to meet a pasta dish that I won’t devour. You’ve got your fancy linguine, homemade gnocchi type of pastas, and the homey kid pleasing throw everything together in a pot and let it simmer away type pastas. Baked pastas are something else that make an occasional appearance in my house. Not as often as I’d like, because my husband has not been a fan of baked pastas. All that changed after he tried this one. I made this 9AM on a Friday morning and my husband ate half the skillet for breakfast. That’s how you can tell you have a successful recipe. It’ll teach you the perfect red pasta sauce as a base, and how you can use that in this dish by mixing it with a ricotta cheese sauce and some cooked noodles. Top with some cheese and bake until golden brown and you’ve got yourself a winner.
This is the perfect compromise for people who don’t like baked pasta, because it’s made mainly on the stove top and just thrown in the oven for 20 minutes to let the cheese brown. If you forego adding the ricotta cheese sauce, you can even eat this straight away without baking.
New Favorite Tomato Sauce
The tomato sauce that coats the noodles is the perfect red sauce. File it away in your repertoire and use it all the time! We use good olive oil to sautee plenty of onion and garlic. We add some finely shredded carrots for a bit of heft and sweetness (your kids won’t be able to tell don’t worry). Finally, the tomatoes come in three forms- crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste. You might be wondering if fresh tomatoes could probably produce a superior sauce but this comes together SO easily so it’s great for busy weekday nights.
Making that red sauce into pink sauce
Inspired by The Mediterranean Dish, I used her ricotta cheese mixture and added it to the tomato sauce to make it creamier and add that cheese factor. It’s as simple as whisking ricotta cheese with eggs and fresh parmesan. Kinda like an American style lasagna. This was a great addition, but if you leave it out the dish will still be fabulous.
Keeping it healthy-Which pasta noodles to use?
Whatever you like! Just cook according to package directions- err on the side of more al dente especially since we will be baking these in the oven and they’ll cook a little longer. For the above recipe pictured, I used Dove Farm’s brown rice linguine and it was really good. Couldn’t tell the difference with regular pasta, and I’ve been trying to use more healthy alternative pastas these days like spelt or good old whole wheat.
I was feeling super extra and topped this with fresh buffalo mozarella. Yum, but regular shredded mozzarella definitely does the trick! Sprinkle some extra Parmesan on top too, if so desired.
So without further ado, find this recipe for this comfort food pasta dish below. Leave a comment if you try it! Would love to hear back from you.
Baked Spaghetti with the Perfect Pasta Sauce
- 1/4 cup good quality olive oil
- 1 large onion diced
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large carrot, finely shredded
- 2 cans crushed tomatoes 400 g each
- 1 can tomato sauce 400 g
- 1/2 carton tomato paste
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
- 200 g fresh mozzarella or shredded mozzarella for topping (440 lb)
- Preheat the oven to 190 C (375 F)
For the tomato sauce:
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan until hot, then add the diced onion and carrot, sauteing over medium heat for around 5 minutes until softened.
- Add garlic and cook for 1 minute while stirring.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, dried and fresh herbs, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring to a boil, then cover and lower heat to a simmer. Simmer for around 30 min or longer if you have it!
For the pasta noodles:
- Prepare spaghetti according to package instructions until al dente . Drain and set aside.
For the ricotta cheese sauce:
- Whisk together the Parmesan cheese, ricotta, and the eggs until combined.
To put it together:
- When the tomato sauce is done, add the cooked noodles in and stir until combined. Add the cheese mix and stir.
- Place mixture into a baking dish or skillet, top with fresh sliced mozzarella or shredded mozzarella and bake for around 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbling or golden. You might want to broil for the last 2 minutes.
- Garnish with extra fresh basil and parsley and enjoy!