Cold rainy days call for comfort food.
I find comfort not only in eating the food, but preparing from the chopping and dicing to the mixing and measuring to the actual baking and sautéing. What seems to some like hours of work are moments and moments of contentment and bliss to me.
Here is a recipe that will fill your belly and your soul.
(serves 6 to 8)
16 ounces penne pasta
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1/2 bell pepper or 3 mini peppers, chopped
16 ounces part skim ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1-1/2 teaspoon dried crushed oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
32 ounces favorite spaghetti sauce
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to season while cooking
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Boil water and add penne. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and rinse.
3. Heat a skillet and coat with cooking spray to sauté the onions and peppers until lightly browned and soft. Season with salt and pepper.
4. In a bowl, mix penne, peppers and onions, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, herbs and spices, and 1-1/2 cups spaghetti sauce.
5. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish and spoon in pasta mixture. Top with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
6. Bake for 30 minutes; let stand for 15 minutes before serving.
To make it a healthy meal, add a green veggie to the side and a salad full of veggies with vinaigrette.
You can even make it a little naughty with a sweet dessert. I made angel food cake and topped it with a drizzle of chocolate syrup and strawberries. Hint: don’t do too much chocolate syrup since the pillow-like cake can’t stand up to it and just becomes a gooey, though still delicious, mess.