Let’s do the time shift again, with apologies to The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Hot lunch for one…or six? No problem.
Thaw in the refrigerator (1 – 2 days). Remove the lid and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Add avocado slices on the side. Serve.
This baked Penne uses Mezze Penne, the smaller type of Penne, which is more suited to individual portions. See Macaroni and Cheese From Scratch for info on avocados. This is extremely easy to make.
The microwave is used for all of the prep work and everything is cooked in glass throughout. It is baked in the oven because the cheese crust is one of the best parts of baked Penne.
I use an older Panasonic microwave and a Breville BOV800XL oven for cooking. They work well when cooking for one (or two).
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Step 1: Timeshifting Baked Penne - Ingredients
1 tsp olive oil
227g mezze Penne pasta (abt 2 cups / 8 oz.)
227g Ricotta cheese (1/2 container / 8 oz. freeze other half)
227g shredded Mozzarella cheese (abt 2 cups / 8 oz.)
35g shredded Parmesan cheese (abt 1/4 cup / 1 oz.)
15 oz Marinara Sauce
113g shredded Mozzarella cheese (abt 1 cup / 4 oz.)
35g shredded Parmesan (abt 1/4 cup / 1 oz.)
Note: Mezze (middle) Penne is a smaller Penne and better suited to individual servings.
Note: Shake the Ricotta out of the container and slice in half, top to bottom, it is easier to guesstimate "half ". Use or freeze the remaining half in a 1-quart Ziploc freezer bag for use in the next batch.
Note: I have never noticed a difference in taste in ricotta between brands or part-skim versus whole.
Note: For the marinara, I use a marinara that I make and freeze. It makes six portions that can be used with manicotti, ravioli (Buitoni), or baked penne. I used to use Buitoni marinara, from the refrigerated section of the grocery store. It is very good and I used it as my “gold standard” when working up my version of marinara.
Note: I usually buy the bulk, 5 pound, shredded mozzarella and split it into two freezer bags, one for the refrigerator and one for the freezer. I used to portion and freeze it, but it is used quickly and the two bag approach is more convenient. The Walmart low-moisture part-skin Mozzarella cheese is a good alternative.
Note: I have tried lots of brands of Parmesan cheese and my favorite is from BelGioioso Cheese Inc.
Step 2: Timeshifting Baked Penne - Preparation
1. In a 2-qt measure, add 5-qts water, pasta, and olive oil.
2. Microwave 12 minutes on High and 8 minutes more on Medium.
3. Drain the pasta.
1. While the pasta is cooking, grease 6 Pyrex individual baking dishes.
Note: I use rectangular “Pyrex Simply Store 1.875 Cup Rectangular Dish W/ Red Lid”. ShopWorldKitchen.com usually has buy one get the next one half off deals. If you are on their email, you can get dollars off coupons that can equal "free" shipping. I have enough of these things to fill half a shelf but they are constantly in use with several timeshift dishes.
1. While the pasta is cooking, grate the cheese(s) for the topping and the Penne. Set aside.
1. While the pasta is cooking, in a 3.5 qt glass Dutch oven, combine Ricotta, Mozzarella, and Parmesan. Mix thoroughly.
2. Add Marinara and mix thoroughly.
3. Add drained Penne. Mix well so all of the Penne is coated.
4. Divide evenly into baking dishes.
5. Top with Mozzarella
6. Top with Parmesan.
7. Snap on the lids and freeze
Step 3: Bake the Baked Penne
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake for 30 minutes until bubbly and top begins to brown.
Breville – set to “Bake”, preheat to 350 degrees F, 30 minutes, and middle rack