You know, ugly things get kind of a bad wrap. Where would the world be without hairless cats, Donald Trump’s hair, and decidedly unphotogenic casseroles?
Newt wanted lasagna after church on Sunday. Lasagna is pretty easy, really, but I wanted to streamline it a bit. I just wasn’t in the mood for fussing with the layering. I took all the basic ingredients, substituting macaroni for the lasagna noodles, dumped it in a dish and called it good.
Walt and Newt called it good too, when we sat down to eat.
This dish may not be the prettiest girl at the ball, but it sure has a great personality.
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, pressed
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 2 Tbsp dried oregano
- 2 Tbsp dried basil
- 2 Tbsp honey (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups dry macaroni
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Begin by preparing your homemade pasta sauce: Heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion and saute until translucent, then add garlic. Cook until slightly brown.
- Add ground beef and cook until browned.
- Stir in herbs, diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. If you prefer a sweeter sauce, add honey.
- Salt to taste and simmer while you prepare pasta. (Tip: if you have time, simmer longer, up to an hour or so. The longer you simmer, the better the flavor.)
- Cook pasta in boiling water until just al dente. Drain and mix pasta with sauce. Add 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and stir to combine.
- In a separate bowl, mix ricotta and Parmesan cheeses. Spoon into pasta and stir slightly. (You want the ricotta to stay somewhat clumpy.)
- Pour into a greased casserole dish and top with remaining mozzarella.
- Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.
- Serve with a big green salad and a crusty bread.