When this past Friday came around, Bill and I were both totally worn out. It had been a long week of lacrosse and work, so neither of us were looking forward to going out for dinner or slaving over a complicated recipe. We even forewent our regular Friday night grocery trip in favor of lounging about at home. I spent a little while staring, blank-headed, at the pantry and refrigerator before inspiration struck: Pasta Bake! I had ricotta leftover from an Italian dish last weekend, pasta sauce in the pantry, and all of the leftover cheeses from the Gnocchi Mac and Cheese that would combine to make a simple but decadent dish to celebrate our first free weekend in almost a month.
When the casserole dish popped out of the oven piping-hot, I thought we had a winner, but the speed at which we hoovered down this dish confirmed it! The fancy cheeses were an awesome touch for this simple bake and we couldn’t stop going back for more of the crispy, melty crust or the delicious creamy sauce.
Decadent Ricotta Pasta Bake
- 1 pound small pasta
- ½ jar pasta sauce
- 6 ounces ricotta cheese
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup grated Gruyere cheese
- ½ cup grated Fontina cheese
- Preheat oven to 375° F. Spray a casserole dish with non-stick spray and set aside.
- Prepare the pasta according to package directions and set aside.
- Combine pasta sauce and ricotta cheese, then add sauce, ¼ cup each of the Gruyere and Fontina cheeses and pasta to the casserole dish, stirring to combine and coat the pasta well.
- Top the pasta with the remaning Gruyere and Fontina cheeses, then the grated Parmesan cheese.
- Place casserole dish and bake for 25 minutes, or until cheeses are bubbly and melty. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
This recipe is a snap to throw together on a busy weeknight when you still feel like a treat. The melty cheeses are absolutely decadent with the simple, creamy sauce. I recommend spiral or shell pasta for this particular dish so you have a lot of surface area for sauce application and cheese melting.