Dec 14, 2012

Baked Penne with Zucchini and Goat Cheese

I grew up in a family of seven.  Five kids.  Two parents.  Two dogs, multiple birds, geckos, hamsters, bearded dragons, a snake… Big family. You get it.

Sometimes I still cook like I live with that big family.  But most of the time it’s just Brandon and I eating the dinners I cook.  I’m lucky that he will take leftovers to work for lunch, but I also love coming up with something delicious to use my leftovers in a whole different dinner.

This was one of those meals.  What started out as simple pasta with meat sauce turned into a baked meal full of fresh veggies and creamy cheese.

Baked Penne with Zucchini and Goat Cheese

Ingredients:

Leftover penne with meat sauce any way you like to make it (we had ours two nights before- regular penne, store bought red sauce and cooked ground beef)

1 cup of ricotta cheese

1 cup mozzarella cheese

1 small log of goat cheese

1 small yellow zucchini, diced

1 small green zucchini, diced

extra red sauce (again, I used store bought this time to keep it easy)

Directions:

In a large casserole dish, spread a little bit of red sauce to coat the bottom of the dish.  Spoon in a layer of pasta with the meat sauce.  Sprinkle with half of the zucchini then add the ricotta cheese, goat cheese and mozzarella, distributing each evenly over the first pasta layer.  I just spooned little dots of the cheeses out all over the top- no mixing. Spoon over a little bit of extra red sauce then repeat with another layer of pasta, zucchini and cheeses.  Add a little extra mozzarella on top.  That’s it!

Pop the casserole lid on (if it has one) or cover in tinfoil and refrigerate or freeze until ready to bake.

Bake thawed casserole at 350 for 45 minutes or until hot and bubble.  If you like crispy edges, uncover the casserole for the last ten minutes of baking.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese or basil for serving.

The zucchini cooks perfectly under the melty cheese and hot red sauce and the meat already in your original pasta dish makes this a hearty meal.  My husband and I loved it and the whole thing was gone that evening.

Poor Denver didn’t get any.  He DID, however, get a treat of his own… more to come on that next week.

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Have a great weekend!

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