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Baked Spaghetti 10May09

Baked Spaghetti

Ooo baked spaghetti! Kind of like lasagna or baked ziti but not really at all. I’ve been meaning to make this for a while. I can’t quite remember where I saw this done, perhaps it was on Martha’s show, or just one of the delicious photos on tastespotting.com. Either way, I remembered the basics, cook spaghetti, make toppings, bake.

So I improvised a bit, it still came out tasty. I think if you add more sauce, it turns more lasagna. If you add more ricotta and mix it around, it’s more ziti like. I kind of kept mine more on the vegetable heavy side, still on my health kick ya know. I also used bucatini pasta, it’s spaghetti with a hole in it, they’re basically like straws. If you stick to spaghetti I think it will keep it’s shape a bit more, the bucatini wanted to wiggle around a bit more. Try it out!

Ingredients:
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 can of peeled whole tomatoes
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1/4 cup of breadcrumbs
1/2 box of bucatini or spaghetti (about )
1/2 cup of lowfat ricotta
1/2 cup of grated lowfat mozerella
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 1/2 cup of sliced button mushrooms

Preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C.

Step 1: Peppers and then some!
On a gas stove top or BBQ grill, char up the bell peppers until blackened on all sides. Place them in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap for about 10 minutes to steam. You can prep your other ingredients in the meantime: bring a big pot of water to boil for the pasta (you want to cook the pasta to just before al dente!); chop your shallots and garlic; pour the canned tomatoes in a bowl juice and all and squish with your hands to break it all up. By now, your peppers should be ready. Peel the skin off and take off the stem and seeds. Cut into long slices and set aside.

Step 2: Sauce!
While your pasta is cooking away, in a medium saucepan drizzle some extra virgin olive oil. Once heated, throw in the shallots and garlic and let that cook for about a minute. Now toss in the sliced peppers and let that cook for another 2 minutes. Make some room i the middle of the pan and throw in the sliced mushrooms to cook in the middle. Season with some fresh ground pepper and sea salt. Let that cook for about 5 minutes. Now pour in the tomatoes with juice that are all crushed and the olives. Let that whole thing simmer for another 5 minutes, turn the heat down low until you’re ready to assemble your bake.

Step 3: Bake!
Once the spaghetti is ready, drain and place back in the pot. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil, mix and we’re almost ready to assemble! In another pan, toast your breadcrumbs with the dried oregano. Just to bring out some of the flavors and toast the stale bread.

In an oven safe deep dish – I used about a 9×9 dish – lay down a layer of spaghetti. Then using a teaspoon, scoop on dollops of ricotta on top, I did about 10 little ones so it gets in every bite. Now layer on the peppers and mushrooms. Top with a layer of the breadcrumbs and then repeat. Just make sure breadcrumbs are on top. Pop it in the oven for 35 minutes.

I suggest letting it rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle on some mozerella when you serve and it’ll melt right on into it. The breadcrumbs add a nice crunch and texture to the dish without making it too heavy. I think I’ll have to try a pesto spinach version of this, OOoo I’m getting ideas already! Keep you posted, in the meantime enjoy this dish!

Baked Spaghetti

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