Every few months when I have a random mismatch of half-full pasta bags in the cupboard I put together a little pasta mash-up. It’s a combination of different pastas, whatever veggies I have in the refrigerator and sometimes I’ll cook up some meat to throw in, like ground beef or turkey. Then I mix it all up with marinara sauce and ricotta cheese, put it in a baking dish with a light sprinkle of mozarella cheese and bake it until it’s hot and bubbly. It’s a cross between lasagna and baked ziti, but I like to just call it Pasta Mash.
Baked Pasta Mash Recipe
1 pound of pasta
2 cups of Marinara Sauce
1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 cups of your choice of veggies – I used diced onions, mushrooms and shredded carrots in this version (chopped kale, spinach, broccoli, bell peppers and asparagus are great in this too)
*Optional – 1/2 pound of lean ground beef or turkey
Cook pasta, drain and lightly drizzle olive oil in so it doesn’t stick together. Set aside.
Drizzle a little olive oil in a large skillet over a medium-high heat. Add chopped garlic and ground meat, if you’re using it here. Cook meat up until it is no longer pink. Add chopped veggies, a dash of salt to taste and Italian seasonings and cook for 5 minutes. Turn heat off and stir in marinara sauce and ricotta cheese.
Pour in cooked pasta and give it a big stir. Pour all of the contents into a large baking dish and top with shredded mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 30-35 minutes.