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Italian Pasta Bake

Italian Pasta Bake

On Black Friday, my mom, aunt and sisters went to Sam’s Club for their free breakfast, Blu-Ray DVD deals and a new GPS that was on sale.  I decided to pick up the latest Rachael Ray magazine while I was there, because while I was perusing through my mom’s at her house, I saw cookies I’d like to make for my Christmas boxes this year.

After we ate our breakfast, grabbed some DVD’s and headed to the checkout, I grabbed what I thought was the magazine I wanted.  I bought the magazine and my GPS, didn’t think twice about the price at checkout and proceeded on to the mall.  It wasn’t until I got home later that day, looked through my magazine and couldn’t find that darn cookie recipe!

I turned to the cover of the magazine (which I’ll now call book) and realized I bought the wrong book.  And, the book I bought cost $10.00!  Instead of the magazine, I bought the Special Collector’s Issue, Rachael Ray’s Holiday book.  Hey, it looks like a magazine and Rachael is on the front cover!  How could I tell the difference?

It made my blood hot for one second, until I flipped through the book and saw many recipes I was actually excited to try!  (Surprisingly since I’m not the biggest Rachael Ray fan.)

So, here’s the first recipe I tried from this new book of mine.  It was so much fun to make, and Ben kept raving on how good it tasted.  He loved, especially, the crust on the top because of the cheese and butter that made for a savory crusty sensation!  The presentation is gorgeous.  And, the sauce,….ooooh… the sauce!!

I didn’t make any modifications except the size of the pan.  The recipe calls for 10-inch springform, but I used a 9-inch because that’s what I had on hand, and it worked just fine.  Additionally, the original recipe states it serves 10-12, but if using the 9-inch like I did, I would say more like 8 servings.

Italian Pasta Bake (Everyday with Rachael Ray, Holiday 2008 Issue)


2 loaves day-old Italian country bread, crusts discarded, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 pound rigatoni or ziti pasta
4 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas
One 28-oz can chopped tomatoes
1 cup heavy cream
1 pound mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving


1. Preheat oven to 375˚. Grease a 10-inch springform pan. Line the bottom and sides of the pan with bread slices, fitting them tightly.

2. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain.

3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the peas and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and heavy cream; bring to a simmer. Set aside 1 cup of the sauce.

4. Add the pasta to the sauce in the skillet; toss to coat. Stir in the mozzarella and half of the Parmesan. Season with salt. Pour the pasta into the bread-lined pan. Cover with bread slices. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons butter.

5. Bake the pasta until golden, about 40 minutes. Let cool for about 30 minutes, then unmold and slice. Serve with the reserved tomato sauce and more parmesan.


4 Responses

  1. I was just looking at that magazine this morning too and that recipe caught my eye. But I think I’m going to make the spinach and artichoke dip soup. The pasta bake looks delish!

  2. This sounds so good!! I will have to try it!

  3. This looks interesting, but delicious!

  4. After salivating over this for quite some time now, I finally made this tonight for my VERY picky husband & his very picky sister. The verdict was that we all liked it very much!! It is very different, but quite yummy!! I agree with you about the sauce……it makes the dish!! Next time, I think I will brown the assembled bread in the oven before putting the pasta into the pan. I enjoyed the crunchy bread on top & would like for the rest of the bread to have a little more “texture” to it. But, other than that, it’s a great recipe & one that I will add to my reportoire!! Thanks for sharing!!

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