Growing up in my house meant routine and consistency but that didn’t mean it was boring by any means. Every Saturday morning we cleaned the house, every Sunday in the summer we went sailing, every Sunday in the winter we went ice skating, every night we sat down and had dinner as a family and every Sunday we ate PASTA!!!!!!! I found comfort in this consistency. Knowing what to expect & knowing what was expected of me. The only thing I didn’t know were the specific consequences should I break the rules but I did know that those consequences would be BAD! But I digress.
I share with you this beautiful Sunday supper classic, baked pasta. So what? Boring? Everybody does it? Perhaps, but in this dish I used a blend of six (cheeses) and top it off with a massive layer of provolone. Want to know how to get cheesy goodness and plenty of sauce in every bite? Well read on oh curious one, read on.
First and foremost I must stress the importance of using the proper pasta for this dish. You should always use pasta rigata (ridged pasta). The ridges help sauces cling to the pasta better. That’s why the sauce is never even throughout a dish of baked ziti – ziti is a smooth, non-ridged pasta.
Secondly, the perfect bite of baked pasta is lovingly dressed with cheese. In order to achieve this you must do one thing…when you are adding your pasta into a baking dish, you must do so in layers as you do when making lasagna. Here’s my system that never fails:
1. Add enough marinara sauce to the bottom of the baking dish to cover the area. Don’t put too much in as you’ll be adding as you layer.
2. Add (cooked & drained) pasta.
3. Add a layer of shredded cheeses. I use a blend of six (6) for amazing flavor.
4. Add more sauce to the top and mix well.
5. Repeat these steps until all of your pasta is in the pan or you run out of room in the pan (whichever comes first).
6. Place a layer of provolone cheese slices on top of the pasta.
Serve it with fresh basil and Italian sausage. It’s a simple, classic that’s always in fashion and always a crowd pleaser!