Mostaccioli !

My boys have been asking for some type of pasta with a nice red sauce. Well…we talked about it and spaghetti was not on their radar. Meatballs didn’t make that prospect any more exciting either. Well, I have a friend who makes the best Mostaccioli that I’ve tasted thus far. Recently we all attended another good friends graduation party for her son and many of us contributed dishes for the event. After I had made my plate and began to eat…I tasted the Mostaccioli, and immediately I knew it was hers and sought her out among the throng of people to tell her I knew this was her dish. In fact, you could line up ten different of these dishes and I would pick hers out every time. Yes…its that good!

In any event, that is what the boys and I decided upon for dinner today and this is how it went…

With fresh shaved Parmigiano Reggiano

And a slice of garlic bread on the side. Now generally I make my own garlic bread…however, Mr. Hubbs likes to keep Texas Toast on hand. Well, I went with that today and besides it saved me a little time in the kitchen. I did add a little parsley and paprika tho :-)…had to get my personal touch in there somewhere

Let’s get started on this simple filling dish–chopped onion, bell pepper, and garlic

I sautéed the onion and bell pepper in a little olive oil until the bell pepper was tender and the onion translucent, then added the garlic, stirred that in and sautéed just a tad longer. The garlic will tell you when its ready when you smell that lovely garlic aroma tingling your olfactory senses

Added one hot Italian sausage, one sweet Italian sausage, and about 1/2 lb of ground turkey

Cooked all of the meats until they were done, then added chopped pepperoni (with a slightly thick cut). Mixed that in well and adjusted my seasonings with a little fresh cracked black pepper, onion & garlic powder, a shake or two of Kirkland’s Organic No-Salt Seasoning (thank you Costco), and a little  kosher salt to taste

Mixed everything together.

In goes the sauce. I used a jarred sauce. Now I can make a fresh sauce, but alas…no fresh tomatoes on hand and I wasn’t about to run out to the Fruit Market at this point to pick some up. Besides I’m waiting on my tomatoes in the garden to mature before I make a another fresh sauce. I used one 24 oz jar of Barilla Traditional Marinara (that’s what I found in my cupboards), and about 1/3 can of tomato paste just to give the sauce a little more body. I sautéed a little of the onions, bell peppers, and garlic in EVOO, added the sauce, simmered and of course added some sugar (taste as you add 1 Tbsp at a time) to cut the acidity of those maters

Let the sauce simmer.  At this point I wanted to add some ricotta cheese, but lo and behold there was none to be found in the fridge! So I substituted about 3 Tbsp of cream cheese instead–then just let everything simmer (on very low heat) and let it all just join hands with one another and sing that old…er…oops…I digress. In any event–just let those flavors marry one another for several minutes

Ran out to the patio and snipped some fresh basil and gave it a good rinse

Added the fresh basil to the sauce

Spread some of the sauce in the bottom of the baking dish–give it a little cushion

Added the pasta and sauce mixture

Top with a little more of that Parmigiano Reggiano

Now top with Panko bread crumbs. You can moisten them before adding with extra virgin olive oil, or butter…or…just give them a little spray of Pam or the like. I do this at times to help with the browning of the bread crumbs. Sprinkled a little parsley on that and into a 350 oven and bake until the breadcrumbs are golden and the cheese has melted…about 20 minutes

Out of the oven and garnished with fresh basil…I love basil ❤

Just as soon as I put that basil on and snapped a photo, my family was ready to dig in

                        Baked Mostaccioli


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