I know that it may only be Thursday, but I am preparing you guys for Friday.
No but really, I am posting this specifically on Thursday so you can make this tomorrow.
It is a must.
Ready for another “when I was growing up” story?
Well, I still feel like I am growing up. Probably because I totally am, but you get the point. Anyway, this pasta is hands down one of my favorite dinners. Yes, I say this a lot, BUT this pasta will always, always, be something I love to death. Everybody loves this pasta. Ok, not the meat-eating brothers because the only meat on this pasta is the pepperoni and that just does not cut it for them. Like I say all the time, their loss. Except Brendan, this is his favorite, but he loves all food…..
Of course, I almost never get to cook for him because is off flipping upside down through the air somewhere. Figures.
Alright, so I think we all get by now that I was a pretty weird kid (still am, but I am kind of not considered a kid anymore). All throughout school when kids were going out on Friday nights I was probably home hanging with my family and eating this.
A lot of Fridays I would force myself to hang out with my friends because one, I did actually like them, and two, if I did not devote a little time to them outside of school I would not have any friends to hang with at school. I mean, it’s a two-way street, so I had to play my part, at least a little. Ok, that sounds bad. What I am trying to say is that even though I loved my friends, I still also really loved being at home with my family. Sometimes I would do a fun Friday night with friends and then the next week I would just stay home and chill out.
Still sounds totally weird, but what’s new.
Whatever I did though, this was almost always dinner on Friday night. Sometimes we would switch it up and do homemade pizza, but this pasta would then get made on Saturday.
I am not really sure when my dad actually started making this pasta, but he has made it for as long as I can remember. I am also not sure how it came to be, but my guess is he just started throwing some things in a baking dish and called it a day. To be honest, it is never made the exact some way twice. This is one of those dishes that normally does not have any measurements involved and things are just thrown in, tossed together and then loaded with cheese.
Also if I am being honest, no one will ever be able to make this as good as my dad. I have tried, over and over again, but for some reason his version always comes out better every single time. Sure, I can make a lot of things, and a lot of them I can probably do better than my dad, but this is just not one of them. Pasta and eggs are his thing.
A few key ingredients?
2.) Good olive oil
3.) Tons of mozzarella cheese
4.) Red bell peppers (most important)
This is one of the most simple pastas you will ever make. It requires dirtying only two dishes. One is the pot to boil the water in, the other is the dish to bake the pasta in.
Super simple because who the heck wants anything complicated on Friday night? Not me that is for sure.
The prep time on this is twenty minutes, TOPS. And that is only if you are slow.
But it does require baking for at least 45 minutes. This is key if you want the peppers to get all roasted and delicious and trust me YOU DO. Nothing is better than those peppers sitting on top. I am known to pick off all the peppers and leave everyone else with none. Sorry, I can’t help it. They are my favorite part.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta until al dente. Drain well.
- While the water comes to a boil add the olive oil (make sure the oil covers the entire bottom of the baking dish, if not add more oil), dried basil, dried parsley, dried oregano, dried dill, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper to a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. To the baking dish add three fourths of the pasta, the olives, sun-dried tomatoes and pepperoncinis. Toss well until all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Drizzle the pasta with a little of the reserved oil from the sun-dried tomato jar. If pasta seems a little oily add in a little more angel hair or if you would like to use all the pasta be sure to add more oil to evenly coat all the pasta.
- Add 3/4 of the mozzarella cheese and then scatter the sliced red peppers over top. At this point it will seem like there are too many peppers, but this is fine. They will cook down.
- Sprinkle on the remaining mozzarella and evenly place the pepperonis on top. Sprinkle on top 2-4 ounces of parmesan and another drizzle of olive oil.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 60 minutes or until the top is browned and the peppers have softened. Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh basil and more parmesan. Cut and eat!
Oh and obviously, this dish is good any night of the week, but it is extra delicious on Fridays, because well it is Friday… and everything is better on Friday.
Better Homes and Gardens has nominated Half Baked Harvest as one of the top 5 Food: Family/Everyday Eats blogs. Between now and March 5 voting will take place to decide who is number one. Here’s the catch, you can vote every HOUR until 3/5/14. I would be so appreciative if you could take the time to check out all the bloggers and vote for your favorite… as often as you can between now and then. Thanks for all your support, you guys are why I love doing what I do! VOTE HERE