Nat and I have been fortunate enough to a) find a great church home in Knoxville and b) find a great community within that church. Every week on our way home I tell Nat how much I like the people in our group. Sometimes it seems like I gush- oh well 🙂
One of the reasons I love this group so much is everyone’s heart to serve our community. As a group we volunteer and cook dinner for the Ronald McDonald house in Knoxville. I love the Ronald McDonald house. I think it comes from being a Memphian and knowing how precious that place is to the families of St. Jude. Regardless of why I love it, it is so great to be able to serve the people who stay there while loved ones are sick. I think that the Lord has called Christians to serve and it is really easy to get into a community group and just stay put. I am so blessed that this group has the heart to serve. What a blessing.
This week it was my turn to choose/plan the menu. Its hard to choose something that will feed many people, while also being yummy- and not something they are given everyday. One of my favorite things to make for just Nat and I is Baked Penne with Ricotta cheese and basil. I make it at least every 2 weeks. It is a great option for a Meatless Monday (or whatever day of the week you choose to go meatless). I figured this was something most people would like, and it was a little more special than spaghetti.
Anyway- here is the recipe. I am scaling it down to the normal serving size. The pictures are of what I made tonight- a TRIPLE batch.
Unless you want to eat leftovers for a month, or you are planning on freezing a lot…do not triple the recipe.
Baked Penne with Ricotta cheese and Basil
1 lb Penne pasta- cooked
1 cup Ricotta cheese*
1 jar (25 oz) of spaghetti sauce- I used tomato basil or something along those lines tonight. Usually I make my own sauce, but choose whatever flavor you like!
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
*I usually add a little bit of salt, maybe 1/2 a teaspoon, because ricotta cheese can be sort of bland without a little flavoring
1 cup mozzarella cheese
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. Meanwhile, mix the ricotta cheese, pepper, basil, and 1 1/2 cups of the pasta sauce in a large bowl.
When the pasta is cooked, let it sit for 5-10 minutes until cooled. Add the pasta to the cheese/sauce mixture. Toss to coat. Spread some sauce on the bottom of 7×11 inch baking dish. Spoon the pasta mixture into the pan and spread a little more sauce on top. Sprinkle the cheese over the top of the pasta.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the pasta is warmed through. Please enjoy!