Friday, January 23, 2015

Easy Baked Penne

I have been trying to post this recipe for weeks. Every time I make this dish, it disappears before I can get a decent picture. It's great to make for company, and serves quite a few. It will leave us with a little leftovers that we gobble up quickly. I managed to snap this picture with my phone recently, so it's not very pretty but at least gives you an idea of what it will look like!

I've made this recipe four times in the past month. This can be made so many different ways but I'll just share a simple version with you. I like to add a bit of veggies to mine. I also use garlic powder, but if I'm using a garlic marinara or alfredo I leave out the garlic powder. I've used different kinds of penne and they all work great. We really enjoyed the kind that has hidden vegetables. Tasted great and the texture was normal. I really recommend making this when you have company. It will serve a lot and all you have to do is steam some veggies and heat up garlic bread to go along with and you have a very hearty meal. Enjoy!

Baked Penne
  • 1 lb. Lean Ground Turkey
  • 1 lb. Penne pasta
  • 25 ounce jar Marinara of your choice
  • 15 ounce jar Alfredo Sauce
  • 8 ounces shredded part skim Mozzarella Cheese
  • 4 ounces diced Mushrooms (optional)
  • 1/3 medium White Onion, diced (optional)
  • Black Pepper, to taste
  • Garlic Powder, to taste
  • fresh Parsley and Basil, optional for garnish
Bring a large pot of water up to a boil. While you wait for the water to boil chop your veggies and get them and the ground turkey into a pan, you don't need to turn the heat on yet. Season generously with black pepper and whatever spices you choose. Once the water is boiling add in your pasta, then preheat your oven to 350 F and turn the heat on your pan to high or medium-high. This all comes together pretty quickly. Break the turkey into small pieces as it's cooking. The turkey and vegetables should all cook up by the time your pasta is done, about 10 minutes. 

Drain your pasta once it's al dente, then return to the pot and add in the jar of alfredo sauce and stir to combine. Add the marinara sauce to the turkey and vegetable mix. Grease a large casserole dish or roasting pan; spread out all of the pasta, then top with the meat mixture. Spread it out evenly and top with the shredded mozzarella cheese. Depending on the size of your dish you may need more or less cheese. I just top it with enough to cover the meat mixture. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Remove the foil and either bake another 20 minutes to brown or turn the broiler on high for 3 minutes. Let sit about 10 minutes before you serve, it holds up well and should serve up like a lasagna would. I hope you give this a try!

There are lots of ways to make this dish. Use ground turkey, ground beef or chicken, or even chopped chicken or ground Italian sausage. You can also layer it a couple different ways. I like the pasta on the bottom, meat on top way. But this can be layered like in the picture above. Half of the pasta mixed with the alfredo, then the meat sauce, and finally top with the rest of the pasta mixed with marinara and add cheese. It's really up to you! No wrong way to make this dish. 

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