Pasta Rustico

This is a super simple, quick dinner that my family loves so it's great for a busy night.  I used my homemade marinara but a jar would be fine too.

I usually make this meat-free on a night when I've had a busy day and forgot to thaw meat, but italian sausage or sliced chicken would be great in this too.

Pasta Rustico

1 lb short-cut pasta (I used brown rice ziti)
3-4 c. marinara (I used 4)
1/2 c. fresh grated parmesan cheese
2 bunches OR one bag spinach, coarsley chopped
3/4-1 c. ricotta cheese

Boil pasta according to package directions.  While the pasta is cooking steam the spinach in the microwave until just wilted, 1-2 minutes.  Drain the pasta, and pour the marinara sauce into the hot pot and warm the sauce.  Stir together marinara, pasta, spinach, parmesan cheese, and ricotta cheese.  Serve immediately.

post signature
Posted by Picasa


Marinara Sauce

I've mentioned "Use marinara sauce.  I made my own." many, many times.  Then once my friend asked me about the homemade marinara and I realized I should tell you how I do it.  The only problem is as previously mentioned, I don't measure very often so it gets complicated.  So in this recipe keep in mind that you keep tasting and adjusting the seasoning amounts to your liking.

Sometimes I get the "italian pack" that's offered through Bountiful Baskets and in that case I will use all of the fresh herbs in my sauce.  If I don't have fresh herbs I use italian seasoning which is much less expensive and easier to keep on hand so whatever you like.  The real trick to the sauce is cooking the vegetables in plenty of olive oil (just enough to cover) and then adding the tomato sauce and tomatoes and cooking it for a really long time.  I vary the vegetables in the sauce a lot based on what I have--zuchinni, mushrooms, and shredded eggplant are good in it too.

Here is what I did with the last giant batch of sauce. Make it your own and keep it in your freezer all the time...

Marinara Sauce

3 green bell peppers, chopped
3 onions, chopped
15 cloves of garlic, minced or grated
3/4 c. olive oil (or so)
107 oz can tomato puree or tomato sauce from a Warehouse store (or just a whole bunch of tomato sauce)
4 28oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained
2-3 Tb sugar
1 Tb crushed red pepper (or more)
1/4 c. italian seasoning (to start with)
black pepper to taste

Pour some of the olive oil in the bottom of a giant pot (or divide everything between two pots) and heat over medium heat.  Add in the peppers and onions (plus any other vegetables you want) and saute until they start to soften.  Add the rest of the olive oil, make sure there's just enough olive oil to cover the vegetables, but not to make them float in it.  Add in the garlic and cook another minute.  Slowly pour in some of the tomato puree or sauce and combine it well with the vegetable/olive oil mixture. You'll have to stir a awhile to get the oil to mix in completely.  Add in the rest of the sauce and all of the other ingredients and combine well.  Cook over low heat for at least an hour, but preferably a few hours, stirring, tasting, and adjusting the seasoning often.  I usually end up adding in extra italian seasoning and sometimes even some granulated garlic.

Let the sauce cool and portion into freezer bags or containers and keep on hand.  I'll defrost it and cook some sausage, ground beef, or meatballs and pasta and it's a super-fast dinner.


post signature