I’ve got a nice little romantic dinner for the blog today: Ricotta Bolognese Penne Pasta Bake. Sounds delish, right? It is. If I could, I would bring you all a plate of it to show you just how much I love you guys. I’d also bring some salted chocolate brownies and some Frozen Valentine’s Day cards.
I love pasta! Especially when it’s cheesy. I love mixing ricotta with my Bolognese sauce to make it nice and creamy. The best part of this recipe is, you guessed it, it’s super easy! I mean, I kind of hate the word “easy” since it implies that it’s all things prepackaged. Not in my house! By easy, I mean a small amount of ingredients, ease of execution, and it comes together quickly. That is what easy means to me. I love recipes like this since I know they will be healthy (as healthy as pasta can get at least), tasty, and will allow me to get back to hanging out with the hubs.
Speaking of which, Daniel is coming up on baseball season! Starting this week he meets with pitchers and catchers. Then, in two more weeks it’s full blown practice which means long days without him. It’s not something I look forward to. But, as Daniel well knows, I love my alone time. I’ll definitely miss him, but I like to make the best of it. I’ll watch Focus Features and eat my favorite vegetarian dishes for dinner.
This year, now that he is head coach, I’ll be making my way up to Portland for a lot more games this year. I cannot wait! All I can think about is 70 degree weather, the smell of fresh cut grass, and the sound of the ball hitting the sweet spot of the bat. But seriously, is winter over yet?
By the end of the baseball season, I cannot wait for Daniel to come home at a regular hour and for us to eat dinner together again. So, this week I’ll be making him his favorites, this Ricotta Bolognese Penne Pasta Bake included.
Speaking of which, this pasta bake has been on my dinner recipe cycle for a long time. It’s tried and true and has stood the test of time. It’s great for a Valentine’s night in or feeding a group of your closest girlfriends.
Ricotta Bolognese Penne Pasta BakePrint Recipe
- 1 lb penne pasta
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup diced red onion
- 1 orange or yellow bell pepper, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
- 15-ounce can of peeled tomatoes (San Marzano)
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- Zest of one lemon
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Olive oil for drizzling
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- Chopped basil and shredded parmesan cheese for garnish
Over medium/high heat, use a large skillet to brown the ground beef. Once browned, add the salt, chopped onions, and chopped peppers. Cook down until the onions are tender. Add the minced garlic, chopped oregano, and canned tomatoes. Stir together breaking down the whole tomatoes with a spoon. Let simmer on low for 10 minutes.
Cook penne according to package directions.
Add the ricotta to the bolognese sauce and combine. Stir the cooked penne pasta into the bolognese sauce, and pour into a casserole dish. Top with mozzarella cheese, cherry tomatoes, and drizzle with olive oil. Place under a broiler on low until the cheese has melted or in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes.
Garnish with chopped basil and shredded parmesan cheese if desired.