You know those days where you’ve got a few odds and ends laying around, but you don’t want to go to the store? Welcome to today. I’m feeling a little under the weather (gotta love those Houston allergens) so just decided to make do with what I had on my pantry shelves and in the fridge.
So what did I have: a bunch of herbs, several pastas, lots of tomato sauce, half a bottle of red wine, some parmesan, provolone, and broccolini. I decided on a baked pasta with fresh sauce. I didn’t have any thawed meat on hand, so it’s vegetarian. The red wine adds a nice depth of flavor, and I like the addition of the broccolini – it’s got enough bite to take this from a basic tomato sauce to something a little more special. Also, it’s not baby broccoli, which is a common misconception. Broccolini is actually a hybrid veg, made from regular broccoli and Kai-lan (chinese broccoli). I find that the flavor is actually more similar to kai-lan than broccoli.
Anyway, here’s my recipe!
Baked Cavatappi with Tomato Sauce & Broccolini
1 Bag cavatappi, cooked to al dente
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs rosemary, minced
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 C red wine
1 bunch broccolini, just the tops and first inch of stalk chopped off. The pieces should be bite sized
4-5 Tbs basil, chiffonade
10 cherry tomatoes, sliced
1 can crushed tomatoes
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3/4 C shredded parmesan cheese
8 slices provolone cheese
Preheat oven to 325 F.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic, rosemary, and fennel seeds and saute for 2 minutes. Pour in the red wine. It will simmer up a little bit, which is what you want. Add the broccolini, and let it cook about 3 minutes until just softened. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, red pepper flakes, crushed tomatoes, and basil. Let cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Combine the sauce with the pasta, and then pour about a quarter into a baking dish. Layer a little of the parmesan and two pieces of the provolone, and then repeat this process until the dish is full. Finish with the provolone.