Nov 30, 2008

Pizza Pasta

I'm a big fan of "slop-in-a-pot" type recipes, where the ratios and amounts of different ingredients are suggested, rather than fixed. This is one of those recipes, which explains why I don't give measurements. I make it veggie-based but it can easily be made to simulate meat (use fake pepperoni/ham on top, or put Yves veggie ground round in the sauce) or fully meaty. I'll take suggestions for pizza toppings, because I'm getting pretty bored with my usual.

Some example combinations:
- Mediterranean: Prepare as below. Top with black olives, feta, oregano flakes, red and green peppers
- Spicy: Mix fresh minced garlic and chopped up hot peppers with the sauce before adding to the pasta. Top with chili flakes, red and green peppers, green olives, and a sprinkling of cheddar cheese.


Pizza Pasta
Effort: super easy
Ingredients: super duper easy
Cookbook: an ex-boyfriend's mother + a recipe card

Pasta (I like rigatoni, but medium-sized shells, penne, or macaroni would also work. Use as much or as little as you like - leftovers make good lunch)
1 large can/jar of Pasta/tomato sauce (add lots of oregano and basil to make it zippy)
Mozzarella cheese, grated
Possible toppings:
Green/red peppers
Hot peppers/jalapenos
garlic/roasted garlic
fresh basil leaves, chopped
extra cheese (feta, parmesan, cheddar, goat)
chili flakes
oregano flakes
shredded spinach
small broccoli florets

- Cook the pasta and drain.
- Mix the pasta with the sauce - make it nice and saucy because baking it will dry it out (if you're adding fresh crushed garlic, it might be good to add it in with the pasta and sauce or else you'll end up with concentrated bites of garlic once it's all cooked).
- Pour the pasta&sauce into a baking pan (you want the pasta to make a layer about 2 inches deep)
- Top with mozza cheese (variation: add half of the cheese to the pasta and sauce in the stage when you're mixing together, and then top with the other half)
- Top with your favourite pizza toppings (mushrooms should go under the cheese to avoid drying out too much)
- Bake at 350 until cheese is melty and veggies seem cooked (around 20 min is good, but more is probably better. You can also broil in the last 2 minutes to brown up the cheese a bit).
- Serve with garlic bread, because garlic bread is delicious.

Protein tip:
Both pasta and cheese cheese have quite a bit of protein. You could also add some veggie ground round to the sauce (found in the produce section of a grocery store). it makes a pretty good substitute for ground beef and adds loads of protein. I recently tried veggie sausage and it was really bad, so I'd stay away from that. There is also veggie pepperoni but if you're still eating meat, you'll probably want to avoid any simulated deli slices since they only start tasting good once you haven't eaten meat for a year or so.

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