How does some pasta, slathered with melted cheeses in a creamy tomato sauce and topped with crunchy, buttery bread crumbs sound? Delicious? Oh Yes. You'd be correct. It's very delicious. This dish is perfect for a drab, rainy and cold day, like Saturday was. This dish was so comforting. I made this for us as a late lunch around 3pm yesterday. It was perfection.
Saturday I laid in bed until about 11am. That's very rare for me. But it was totally lovely to do that. It felt nice to not get up as early and rush to the gym like I normally do on the weekends. It's not like the gym is going anywhere. I seem to always want to fit a workout in before 10am. This message has been brought to you by Dana the Crazy Lady. Join me, won't you? I was contemplating on going to the gym. I was sore from Fridays' workout of using 7.5 hand weights and doing a good amount of squats. I love doing squats; however, the free weights of that poundage was a spontaneous choice.
Saturday's workout began around noon and I was fine with that! It was similar with 15 minutes of cardio and about 20 more minutes of squats, leg work, and hand weights. When I got home, I was starving. I did some errands straight from the gym and I didn't get home until 2ish and couldn't wait to cook something. I'm sure I didn't smell like roses in the different stores I went to, but hey, it happens. :)
This pasta bake was really tasty and thought of on a total whim and some creativity on my part! It has a special ingredient that I think totally makes the sauce. It's the cream cheese! Yup! It gives the tomato sauce a creamy and silky finish. We will be having this for leftovers tonight!
You dig the pink spoon? I won it at a bridal shower one year! Oh the little things...
Creamy Rustic Penne Bake
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees & bake about 10 minutes until hot and bubbly.
1 box (lb) Penne Pasta
1 medium shallot, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. olive oil
pinch of salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes
2/3 cup milk (I use skim)
1 can diced tomato
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 T. Philly cream cheese
1 T. fresh basil or parsley
1 T. unsalted butter
2-3 T. Italian bread crumb
Cook your pasta according to the package. Drain and set aside.
Saute the shallot and garlic together in some olive oil. Cook until a touch browned in color. Add in your can of tomato, the seasonings and milk. Cook and stir until bubbling. Next, add in your cream cheese and mozzarella cheese until all is melted through and bring to a second boil. Place the pasta back into the pot it was cooked in and then add the sauce mixture to it. Stir well. Spray an 8x10 baking dish with cooking spray and carefully pour the pasta/sauce mixture into the pan. Pat down well with wooden spoon. Top with breadcrumb mixture and Parmesan cheese.
For the breadcrumb mixture, I just microwaved the butter, breadcrumbs and a drizzle of olive oil in a small glass bowl for about 30 seconds. Combine well with a spoon and sprinkle over the pasta. It should be thick and clumpy. Enjoy!