Lightened Tomato Ricotta Pasta Bake tastes absolutely decadent without all the calories. This pasta bake casserole is tossed in a creamy tomato sauce, topped with baked mozzarella, roasted grape tomatoes, and fresh basil. You won’t believe something that only takes minutes to throw together can be so delicious!
Ryan, my husband, will often remark, “Girl, you run a tight ship.”
Naturally I retort,”Thanks. I appreciate my ingenuity being noted.” Possibly it’s not always intended to express wonderment and admiration, but for the purposes of this post, we’re going with it.
I’m a real strategist when it comes to food reserves. What I considered to be a well-tuned grocery and meal-planning operation, may seem a little neurotic to others.
Fridays are my game plan day. I look at my week ahead and choose meals based on recipes I want to try, what’s on sale in the grocery store flyers, what’s in season, and most importantly, what’s feasible to pull off with distractions (AKA kids). A sticky note listing the chosen meals sets it all in stone.
Then it’s time to figure out what provisions I’ll need. First I plug in required ingredients for meals using a free shopping list app on my phone. During the week I add to the list based on what we are getting low on. Before I head to the store I do a quick once over of the fridge, pantry, and freezer to add any other weekly essentials needed.
You may be thinking, This gal’s not so crazy. She’s just extremely practical. Thank you! But, full disclosure, here’s where I go off the deep end a little.
Wasting food makes me just the tiniest bit rattled. Actually I get very distressed and physically uncomfortable. My kids aren’t allowed to snack due to boredom, pour themselves gluttonous amounts of cereal I will inevitably pour down the drain, and fill huge tumblers of organic milk to go warm on the counter.
Food is money, and for my family, a pretty sizable chunk. Is it too much to ask that all food items be consumed in a circumspect and prudent manner?
I only buy what we will eat during the course of a week as to not have anything go to waste. By the time I’m ready for my weekly grocery mission the contents of our fridge resembles what a young bachelor might stock, weighing a little heavier on the condiments than alcohol.
Lightened Tomato Ricotta Pasta Bake
Plausibly we all might not have it in us to be so passionate (or miserly) when it comes to food waste. Lightened Tomato Ricotta Pasta Bake can be a more rational step in that direction. It only takes a few minutes to throw together, the ingredients are economical, and it makes enough for the food-portion police to not be dispatched. Most importantly, though, you are guaranteed to not have any leftovers.
Best Ever Chicken Tetrazzini – A comforting dish made with tender chicken, noodles, and sautéed mushrooms tossed in a creamy sauce and topped with fresh parmesan cheese.
Braised Butternut Squash, Bacon Penne Bake – Pasta tossed in a creamy bacon, braised butternut squash sauce and baked with mozzarella cheese on top. A great recipe for a weeknight dinner or guests.
- 12 oz. rotini pasta, regular or gluten free
- 15 oz. part-skim ricotta
- 3 cups good quality marinara
- 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
- ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
If using regular pasta, cook for one minute less than al dente. If using gluten free pasta, cook less than half the time for al dente. For instance, my gluten free pasta said to cook 8 minutes for al dente, so I only cooked it 3 minutes for this recipe.*
While the pasta is cooking combine ricotta, marinara, balsamic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add drained pasta and toss to combine. Pour into a greased 9X13" baking dish.
Top pasta with mozzarella, parmesan, and halved tomatoes. Bake for 20-25 minutes until bubbly. Then broil for 2-3 minutes longer to brown cheese and roast tomatoes. Garnish and serve with fresh basil.
Recipe adapted from Delish