Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Baked Fusilli & Lackluster Dance Moves

Mmmmm! Baked pasta! I love it! Baking it in the oven makes the pasta on top slightly crunchy, the cheese browns and you end up with an extraordinary casserole style dish!

This baked fusilli is enhanced by the flavor of tomatoes and zucchini with a melody of sweet oregano, salty Parmesan cheese and a sour hint of red wine vinegar. As always there were tunes playing in the background while I prepared this dish and they were from one of my favorite bands out of the U.K.

I been a fan of Blur ever since a friend gave me one of their demo CDs called Blur-to-go.

My friend didn’t like their sound, but I sure did! On this cooking occasion I prepared the sauce listening to some of the bands bigger hits. Their song “Tender” had me singing aloud and “Girls and Boys” spurred on a spontaneous moment of me showcasing my lackluster dance moves.

I don't think anyone would classify this dish as being fancy. It’s more like a Blur tune. Straight forward and enjoyable with some kick thrown in for good measure. Perfect for weeknight cooking!

Baked Fusilli

8 oz (227 g) uncooked fusilli (about 3 cups)
1/2 lb lean ground beef
1 cup diced onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dried oregano
Pinch or two red pepper flakes
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 can (28 oz / 796 ml) stewed tomatoes, undrained
2 tsp red wine vinegar
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, divided
½ cup (packed) shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese (2 oz / 57 g)

In a large saucepan, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

In a large saucepan, cook ground beef over medium-high heat. Add onions. Cook and stir until beef is cooked through and onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes and zucchini. Cook and stir for 1 minute more. Stir in tomatoes, vinegar and pepper. Bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir in Parmesan cheese and cooked pasta.

Transfer the pasta mixture to a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and spread evenly along the bottom. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top.

Bake, covered, in a 350ยบ F oven for 15 minutes. Remove cover and broil, uncovered, for 5 minutes more until cheese begins to brown. Serve hot.

Volume: Makes 6 to 8 servings

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Brent Garell
The Kitchen Roadie

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