What’s for Dinner?
Baked Pasta with Tomatoes and Smoked Mozzarella
Make ahead and bake when you’re ready
During this hectic time of year, finding time to prepare dinner for my family seems to be more challenging than ever. So I’m constantly on the lookout for things I can make ahead of time. That way if we’re out doing all that one does to prepare for the holidays, we can skate in late and just throw what I’ve prepared earlier into the oven.
Here’s an easy one that my family loves (though I leave out the onion … or use just a little bit). It comes from the Old Farmer’s Almanac Everyday Cookbook.
• 4 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 red onion, chopped
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 5 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
• 16 ounces dried linguine or vermicelli
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
• 8 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese, cubed
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
• salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
• 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1. In a skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over low heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes or until the onion is transparent. Add the tomatoes and saute for 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to the package directions. Drain and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place in a large mixing bowl.
3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
4. Add 1/4 cup of the melted butter, plus the tomato-onion mixture, the cheese, and the parsley, to the pasta. Toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon into a greased 2-quart casserole. Combine the remaining 1/4 cup melted butter with the bread crumbs and sprinkle on top.
5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Place under the broiler for 30 seconds to brown the bread crumbs just before serving.