Saturday, February 20, 2010

Baked Mostaccioli

My SIL, Mary Sue (or MerrySue, as she likes to be called) has some great recipes! For example, I got the Confetti Scalloped Potatoes recipe from her, and this one is also incredible. I made it last week, for Kyle's end-of-the-year swimming banquet potluck, and the pan was the first one to go empty.


8 oz. mostaccioli noodles (I used about 12)
1.5 lbs ground beef (I used 2)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1 clove garlic (I used 3)
1 28-oz can tomatoes
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1-4-oz can mushrooms (I used 12 oz. of fresh mushrooms)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried basil (Yeah, that's what's in the baggy pictured, Silly!)
1/8 tsp pepper
1 large bay leaf (Why do they call them bay leaves? I wonder.)
1 lb. sliced mozzarella (I used shredded)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, cook ground *beef, onion, green pepper, and garlic

until meat is browned and veggies are tender. Meanwhile, clean and slice your mushrooms. A very good chef once taught me not to wash mushrooms, but to instead wipe them clean, like so...

Drain the fat off the meat mixture. Stir in undrained tomatoes, sauce, paste, undrained mushrooms (or fresh, sliced), water, salt, sugar, basil, pepper, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While that deliciousness is simmering, put the water on to boil the pasta and read this hilarious post from Matty, who made this delicious dish a little differently.]  BOIL THE PASTA (There-That's for you Matty-types.)  Drain and set aside.

Remove bay leaf from the simmering sauce and stir in the mostaccioli.

Turn half of the meat mixture into a greased 9 x 13 casserole dish. Layer half the mozzarella on top. Top with remaining meat mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil (the non-sticky kind or sprayed with olive oil) and bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes, or until heated through. Remove foil. Put remaining mozzarella cheese on top of casserole. Bake for another 5 minutes or more.

Serve with garlic bread and a nice salad. Serves a small crowd of hungry young men.

Note: I put this together and stuck it in the fridge (without baking it) for the next night. After school, I ran home and threw it in the oven straight from the fridge, so it took an full hour and a half to cook. It was well worth the wait :)

*I included a pound of venison this time, and it was delicious!
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