This is comfort food to me. I'm not Italian but I swear that somewhere I have Italian blood running through my veins. There is nothing better than pasta, gravy and cheese all melted together. Before I knew how to "cook" (I'm using quotes ebcause there is really no skill involved in this particular recipe), I'd ask my mom to make trays of it and freeze it for me...and then bring it to me 200 miles away. Ahhhh...the good old days before I had any kind of resposibility. Feel free to throw in some sweet Italian sausage like my mom does. I don't because the hubby doesn't like it, but its really good with it.
8 oz. ziti or penne (with ridges)
non-stick cooking spray
1.5 cups pasta sauce (homemade or jarred)
1 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
1 cup fat-free shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 cup egg beaters or 1 egg white
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed garlic
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and cook pasta per directions on package. Spray an 8x8 glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and pour 1/2 cup sauce in dish. Spread to coat the bottom of dish evenly.
In a bowl, combine the ricotta, 1/4 cup mozzarella, 1/2 tablespoon Parmesan, egg, and seasonings. Mix until well blended and creamy. Add cooked, drained pasta and mix until the pasta is throughly coated with cheese mixture.
Add half the cheese/pasta mixture to the baking dish. Pour another 1/2 cup of sauce over that pasta and another 1/4 cup of the mozzarella over the sauce. Add the rest of the pasta and then the last 1/2 cup of sauce on top. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of Parmesan on top and cover with foil.
Bake for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Remove foil and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese over the top. Lightly spray the cheese with non-stick cooking spray (unnecessary if you aren't using fat-free cheese) and bake for about 5 minutes, until cheese is melted.
Yields 4 servings
core: all included if using whole-wheat pasta and homemade sauce
flex: 7 points per serving (if using a sauce that is 1 point per 1/2 cup serving)