Comfort Food Craving

September 30, 2012 at 7:15 pm 1 comment

Some days, comfort food is a necessity. Specifically, rainy days filled with grumpy patients, impossible automated phone calls, and traffic. After a rather benign but somehow still intolerable Friday, I dreamed up this comforting pasta bake while stuck in traffic on my way home. I had a bunch of leftover tidbits of ingredients from my Girl’s Night and a lot of leafy greens from my Boston Organics box that seemed to scream out for a creamy pasta dish. At first, I had an idea to make a grown-up version of my Mom’s amazing mac n’ cheese, which was inspired by our favorite white pizza. However, I saw the tomatoes and sauce calling out to be used and morphed this into a Tomato Basil Pasta bake. (I will have to come back to that other idea though!) To me, comfort equates to carbs and cheese, but done in a way that avoids the bloaty, to0-full feeling that plagues me after most rich pastas. For this dish, the ricotta adds the rich creaminess without making it too heavy, and the 1:1 pasta and greens ratio helps make this a healthier version of a typical cheesey pasta. Try this the next time a long day at work leaves you craving comfort!

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Question: What comfort food do you crave after a long day at work?

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Tomato Basil Pasta Bake

serves 3-5

1/2 box whole wheat rotini

1 large bunch kale, stemmed and chopped

4 on-the vine tomatoes, diced (about 1 cup)

3/4 cup fat-free ricotta

1/2 cup low sodium pasta sauce

1/4 cup shredded mozzarella

1/2 +1/4 cup parmesan cheese, separated

1 tbsp basil, chiffonade

2 cloves garlic, minced

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Cook pasta according to directions, but stop 1-2 minutes shy of recommended cooking time for very al dente pasta. Meanwhile, prepare the kale and place in your pasta strainer. Strain your pasta over the kale, allowing the hot water to slightly steam the kale. (You don’t want to cook it, just soften it so that it stirs into the pasta better). In a separate bowl, mix together the remainder of the ingredients, except for separated 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. Mix in the pasta and kale. Stir until well combined. Pour into an 8×8 brownie pan coated with cooking spray. Top with remaining parmesan cheese. Bake at 350F for 12 minutes or until heated through and the cheese has fully melted. Cut into rough squares and serve!

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Entry filed under: Recipes. Tags: , , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. twoblackdoggies  |  September 30, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Love comfort food and that looks delicious!

    Reply

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