Simple Pasta for Lazy Evenings. Baked Pasta with Marinara Sauce

On this evening since my twins and I were just lazing around all day I was in the mood for what I call a “lazy meal.”   Enter this super simple baked pasta made with store bought pasta sauce.

It was a cool February Wednesday evening yesterday and the kids were on break from school.  On days like this my twins seem to always ask me to make something “fun” for dinner.  I never know what that means, what does make a “fun dinner” mean anyway?  In return I always ask them, “What does that mean, a fun dinner?”  Well to them “fun dinner” usually means a pasta or risotto for one twin, and for the other twin its usually Asian food.  When I made this pasta I was thinking of making a “fun dinner”  with minimal effort.

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I tell you folks when I presented this baked pasta and set it on the table for dinner I literally got this reaction of  “Wow that looks so good Mommy!!”  You know how it is, half the excitement of any food comes in the form of the presentation, and this looks pretty amazing!

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I call this a simple pasta for lazy evenings because all I did is boil some pasta and toss it with a jar of good store-bought marinara sauce that I enhanced with some fried garlic.  I then added in a cup of mozzarella cheese and poured the pasta into an oven proof-baking dish.  I topped the dish with more mozzarella and Parmesan cheese to get that gorgeous cheesy topping.  Cover and bake for 45 minutes and you get this delicious pasta.  Here is the recipe.

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Simple Baked Pasta with Marinara Sauce
serves 5-6

Ingredients:

  • 1lb Pasta. I used elbow pasta.
  • 1 jar of marinara sauce
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes (optional)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup crumbled Parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh basil leaves

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees,
  • Boil pasta according to package directions.  Drain the pasta saving 2 cups pasta water. Set aside.
  • In the meantime heat 2 tbsp olive oil and fry the garlic for 2-3 seconds, then add the chili flakes and immediately add the jar of marinara sauce and heat through.
  • Get ready to bake the pasta.  Pour the marinara sauce over the pasta and toss to coat all the pasta. If it looks too dry add a little of the pasta water.
  • Add 1 cup of mozzarella and mix in.  Pour this into an ovenproof dish.  Top with the remainder of mozzarella cheese and the 1-cup of Parmesan.  Cover and place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.  To slightly brown the top change oven setting to broil and broil for about 1 minute.
  • Take out of oven and garnish with fresh basil. Serve warm to get that gooey cheese in every bite.

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Bon Appetito!

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