I just realized I told you guys all about a cheese-less dinner yesterday.
Obviously, I had to make up for it today with not one, but four – different cheeses.
I am so logical, I know, I know.
I feel like this is the time of year for pasta, cheese and cozy bakes. The weather’s cold, the days are short and I am kind of sick, so cheesy pasta that only requires one pan and a total of five minutes to prep is currently where it is at.
Well, that and buckets of soup, a couple grapefruits a day, a few oranges and pomegranate arils galore. I can down fruits and vegetables like no one you have ever seen before. It’s just a cold, but my ears and nose are plugged and I have no voice – no fun. The amount of pressure I am feeling in my head at this current moment is just delightful…you see, it has me dreaming of sugar plums dancing in my head.
Ok, back to real life. The chaos has settled slightly around here, but then again not really because things with the barn are as crazy as ever. This is good though, because it is actually looking like it might just be livable within the next two weeks. So crazy, right?? Oh and I say livable because you guys, not everything will be done. Basically just the kitchen, a working bathroom and a desk for me to work on. All the detailed finishing stuff will have to come after Christmas. And as of right now, I still have zero furniture. This should be so interesting… I may end up sleeping on my turquoise concrete floors (OMG. Yes I am serious. Yes, I am nervous about them too) probably along with a few brothers who will get kicked out of their beds due to overflow from my parents completely jammed packed house at Christmas.
Can you say hillbillies?? That would so be us. For sure.
OH AND at the very last-minute I decided to switch my counter tops from granite to marble, which is also another decision I am so nervous to have made. Marble stains and I am the messiest, clean it up when I am done (which is normally six o’clock, so there is a good chance that the pomegranate juice I will most likely spill, will have been sitting on the counter all day long) kind of cook. Like what am I thinking. I do not know.
If you have anything to say about this, speak now or you’ll have to shut it forever, because really the decision should have been made like weeks ago. They are being installed on the 16th (12 days in case you’re counting). Oh boy.
Maybe I am thinking the marble will make me a cleaner cook? I wish, I wish.
And that’s what’s going on here. Sickness, chaos and loads of Christmas, because no mater how crazy things get, it is December and I can always put on some Christmas music for some perk up measure.
Or I can just eat my weight in pasta, pomegranates and chocolate. Interesting combo, yes, but it works.
Promise I am done rambling now. Let’s talk One-Pan Four Cheese Sun-Dried Tomato and Spinach Drunken Pasta Bake!
This is the best kind of pasta dish around because you only need one pan and five minutes and a whole slew of pantry staples. It really doesn’t get easier or better.
Everything, including the dry uncooked pasta, gets thrown into one baking dish, then just cover and bake. That’s it! Promise I am not messing with you. It’s that easy. The noodles just cook right along with the sauce, so there is no boiling required. And since I used a little wine in the sauce, this can totally be classified as a drunken pasta. For some reason people get exited and/or intrigued when a dish is called a “drunken”, no idea why.
I used simple pantry staple ingredients for this because I know what it’s like to have an empty fridge, hungry people and no desire to go to the store. Trust me, I am just like you and I have so been there.
Don’t worry though, this pasta is not lacking in flavor. The sun-dried tomatoes pretty much make any dish awesome, but especially any dish paired with san marzano tomatoes, a little red wine and cheese galore. I added spinach for an extra bump of veggies and that pretty green color. Ok – and because red and green are a must in all dishes at Christmas time. Sorry, I honestly cannot help myself.
If you like olives and/or artichokes, I think some kalamata olives and marinated artichokes would be pretty awesome in this as well. It’s up to you though, adapt as needed!
Perfect December meal. Serve to the family, serve to guests, just serve it!
One-Pan Four Cheese Drunken Sun-Dried Tomato and Spinach Pasta Bake.
- 1 ounce can whole peeled san marzano tomatoes 28, can sub whatever tomatoes you may have on hand
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes oil drained but reserved
- 1 ounce package frozen spinach thawed and squeezed of excess liquid, 10
- 2 cloves garlic minced or grated
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup red wine or 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 pound rigatoni pasta
- 8 ounces fontina cheese cubed
- 1 1/2 cups asiago cheese grated
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated
- 8 ounces burrata cheese
- fresh basil or parsley chopped for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. Add the whole can of san marzan tomatoes, crushing the whole tomatoes with your hand. Add the tomato paste, sun-dried tomatoes + about 2 tablespoons of the oil left in the jar, thawed spinach, garlic, dried basil, dried oregano, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, wine and 1 1/2 cups water. Give everything a good stir to combine and then add the dry pasta, fontina cheese, asiago cheese and parmesan cheese, toss everything to evenly coat. Push down gently on the pasta to get most of it under sauce.
Tightly cover the baking dish and bake for 40-45 minutes. Uncover and break the burrata cheese over top of the pasta. Bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from the oven and garnish with parsley and or basil. Cut and serve.
It’s a noodlin’ kind of night.