So I’m sure many of you have learned the terrible curse of Costco. It is a magical place where things are sold in bulk and are slightly cheaper per unit. Therefore, it becomes a better value for your money. Hooray! What a magical place. However, then you go and buy a massive tub of ricotta cheese you thought you were going to turn into cannolis, but then you realize that you don’t have time to deep fry like a bajillion cannolis to use up this ricotta. So the ultimate question I had was, WHAT DO YOU DO WITH ALL THIS FREAKING RICOTTA CHEESE?
You slowly whittle it down by baking things that have some ricotta in them. I’m down to probably 1/4 of the tub by now, but I cannot wait until I’m done with it. It’s delicious stuff, I swear, but it’s making me eat things I don’t usually eat. Like pasta. Or 12 donuts. It’s getting a little ridiculous up in here. I bet my cholesterol levels are wondering why I’m consuming so much cheese. I mean, I love cheese, so this badboy is full of cheese for you cheese-lovers out there. Sorry friends but this is definitely NOT vegan.
I’m getting a little nervous for Saturday (tomorrow) because I gotta bake 100 donuts for the Vegan Bake-Off! Plus more to plate. EEP! Excitement! I’m pretty pumped. I’m excited to meet all the other bakers and eat lots of delicious desserts! Prepare yourself for a ton of photos on the facebook page (which if you haven’t liked get, please go like in the sidebar!) and lots of pictures in the next post. I have friends coming with me and we’re going to fangirl over all the delicious desserts.
But back to this pasta bake. I don’t usually like pasta, because I feel guilty for eating all the carbs and cheese. But seriously I am a fan of this concoction. I kind of made it up and tried to improvise, and I think it worked more or less. I tried to keep measurements as convenient as possible, but I had one jar of pasta sauce (550 mL of PC Sweet Basil) and I only ended up using about half the jar. I guess that would be about a cup of pasta sauce, but I felt like I had used a lot more.
Anyway, it’s a pretty flexible recipe, so feel free to sub in cottage cheese of ricotta, or add more vegetables or something. I feel like zucchini would be delicious in a layer somewhere along with the spinach.
- 1 box penne (I used PC Penne Rigate, 454g)
- 1 heaping cup of pasta sauce, divided (I used PC Sweet Basil Pasta Sauce)
- 1 cup ricotta cheese (you can sub cottage cheese)
- ¾ cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 heaping cups mozzarella cheese, grated
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- black pepper to taste
- 3 cups fresh spinach
- Cook pasta in salted boiling water until al dente. Drain. Set aside.
- Spread a moderate layer of pasta sauce (1/3 cup) on the bottom of a glass or ceramic baking dish. (Keeps it from sticking)
- Mix the remaining ⅔ cups pasta sauce, 1 cup ricotta, 1 egg, parmesan cheese, and ½ cup mozzarella. Add black pepper to taste, and mix in garlic powder and onion powder.
- Mix the pasta with the cheese mixture, then spread half the pasta over the pasta sauce in the pan.
- Add a layer of spinach, using all the spinach.
- Sprinkle a little bit of mozzarella on top of the spinach.
- Spread the other half of pasta on top of the spinach layer.
- Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese on top as a nice layer that keeps all the moisture from the pasta from baking out.
- Bake in the oven at 350F for about 30 minutes until the cheese has melted.