I spent a nice chunk of my day with this stuff…
It is no surprise that a lot of Christmas crafts require fabric. Did you know that I used to have my own Etsy store to sell fabric goods? I love sewing and fabric. Sewing is one of my favorite hobbies! And I’m glad to keep it just a hobby. Selling just took all the fun out of it.
I did take a break from crafting to pick up a few things at the grocery store. Going to the store on the Saturday before Thanksgiving? Worst idea ever. There were no carts, baskets or parking spots. Sheeesh. Managed to get in and out without too much pain. Everyone seems to be in a pretty happy holiday mood.
Before the store, I fueled up on a chunk of Babyface’s whole grain bread. Freshly baked bread = happiness.
After the store, there was a whole lot more gift creation and whole lot of TV watching (including football). Really it was a very low-key and very standard Saturday.
Dinner tonight was a casserole that has been a regular in our house since the early days of our marriage. The first time I made Provolone Penne Bake it was in the tiny galley kitchen of our one bedroom apartment we had when we first were married (and when the Babyface first moved to the U.S.).
My cooking memories are limited from that kitchen—mostly because I suppressed the pain of having no counter space—but this recipe made it through the trauma.
It doesn’t get much easier than this one. First preheat the oven to 350°. Then cook yer pasta. I used white pasta because it was on mega sale, but I usually use whole grain, and definitely prefer it. The white pasta pretty much disintegrated after baking. I like the chew of whole wheat!
In the meantime, heat the olive oil and saute the garlic, onions, green pepper and sausage. I used turkey smoked sausage here, but you could use any kind of sausage or meat (chicken would be great!) or keep it vegetarian. The majority of the flavor comes from the sauce, the addition of meat is just a bonus.
You want the sausage slightly browned and the veggies softened.
Then toss in the rest of your ingredients except for the cheese.
Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Drain your penne and put it back into your pasta pot.
Mix the tomato sauce and pasta, pour into a greased 13×9 inch.
Sprinkle on your provolone.
You could also sub in mozzarella here.
Bake at 350° for 25 minutes. Or until it looks all gooey and delicious.
We served ours with a salad, but the cheesy baked pasta was definitely the star.
The flavor of this is way different from many tomato-based pasta dishes. The combination of spicy red pepper flakes and balsamic vinegar is fantastic and unique. It almost tastes smoky (and that’s not just the sausage talking). OH. And this makes excellent leftovers. Excellent. The flavors just get better and better.
Provolone Penne Bake
(Adapted from Cooking Light)
1 box whole grain penne
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
1 lb. smoked sausage, sliced into coins
3-14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes, undrained
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. oregano
2 cups shredded provolone
Preheat oven to 350°. Cook penne according to directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add garlic, pepper, onion and sausage. Saute until sausage is browned and veggies are softened, 3-5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except for the provolone. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and toss with pasta. Pour into a greased 13×19 inch baking dish. Top with provolone. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melty and bubbly.
We’re now catching up on Mythbusters episodes and I fully expect to be in bed soon. Wild and crazy, we are. Have a great night!