Relationships. They’re all about compromise. Take this meal for example, I envisioned a dish filled with delicious mushrooms, 3 or 4 kinds of cheeses, lots of yummy green veggies all married together in my new cast iron skillet just begging to be eaten. But no. My mushroom hating, cheese loathing, carnivorous boyfriend would have left me (or at the very least, left the dinner table). So I halved the mushrooms, added ground beef, and cut it down to 1 1/2 cheeses. As shown in the photo below, my half of the dish is clearly more delicious (albeit more fattening).
So while I work on compromises in my personal relationships, I’m taking full advantage of my newest relationship. You know, the one with my skillet. Because cast iron. Because flavor. Because versatility. I wanted to make a really great dish for it’s first go around, using it on the stove top and in the oven. Because yes, it’s been that long since I’ve had an oven safe skillet and also, I am that lame. I owe a huge thank you to Nick’s parents for the gift card that made this purchase possible. My list of meals to make is now miles long, and I’m looking forward to all of them.
And maybe along the way Nick will fall in love with the awesome that is cheese.
Baked Pasta with Veggies
PointsPlus Value: 9 (7 without the mozzarella)
- 6 oz Ronzoni Veggie Delight penne pasta
- 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 8 oz cremini mushrooms, diced small
- 1 medium white onion, diced
- 1 lb 90% fat free ground beef
- 16 oz tomato sauce, no salt added
- 1 cup reduced sodium, fat free chicken stock
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp red pepper flake
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
- 6 oz baby spinach
- 1 cup fat free ricotta
- 6 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into thin slices (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Bring a big pot of salty water to a boil. Once boiling, cook the pasta according to package directions.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 12″ cast iron or other oven safe skillet. Add in the mushrooms and cook over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, until they are cooked through. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Heat a second tablespoon of oil and saute the onion and beef together until the beef is browned and crumbly and the onions are translucent. Add them to the bowl with the onion.
In a medium saucepan, heat up the tomato sauce with the oregano, red pepper, salt, pepper and chicken stock. When it comes to a bubble, mix in the mushroom/onion/meat mixture. Continue to simmer while you finish up the remaining steps.
Heat the final tablespoon of oil in the skillet and saute the brussels sprouts until they are browned and start to become tender. Add in the spinach and continue to cook until it has wilted. In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta with the sprouts and spinach.
You are now ready to assemble. Pour half of the sauce in the bottom of the skillet. Spread the pasta evenly over the sauce. Next add the sprouts/spinach/ricotta and then pour on the rest of the sauce. Finally, top with the fresh mozzarella. Cover in tinfoil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the tinfoil and cook for another 5 or so minutes, until the cheese is brown and bubbly.