Baked Pasta Casserole

Boil about 12 ounces of bow-tie pasta until just al dente. Drain

Saute a chopped onion or two and a few cloves of garlic (2 or more) in a bit of oil.

Stir in about 20 ounces of spaghetti sauce, a teaspoon or two of lemon juice, a teaspoon or two of sugar, and some oregano (about 2 tsp).

In a saucepan melt 2 tablespoons of butter, stir in 2 tablespoons of flour, and stir in 2 cups of milk to make a white sauce (add the milk in increments, stirring until sauce is thickened before adding more milk).  Stir in a cup of parmesan cheese, a teaspoon of pepper and stir well.  Combine with tomato sauce mixture (above) and mix well.  Fold in pasta.  I also added pimientoes to mine because I had a packet of them and wanted to use it up.

Spoon pasta into greased casserole dishes.  Because I’m basically cooking in an easy bake oven (tiny toaster oven) I used my tiny cake pans that are about 3 or 4 inches around.

Top with grated mozarella cheese (it doesn’t matter how much. You can always add more).  Top with a mixture of crushed cracker crumbs and italian seasonings.

Bake until heated through.  In the case of my tiny toaster oven, I cover this with foil or the cracker crumb topping gets burnt, and bake about fifteen minutes.

These freeze well.  To bake them, defrost first.

I have served them to several Korean guests, and they were very popular with all of them except a child who is adorable and delightful and something of a picky eater- his most frequent comment on food that is not perfect Korean cooking is ‘very, very not good.’

 

Variations:

You can brown a pound of ground beef with the onion, drain, and mix together), combine this with the tomato sauce and keep it separate.  Ladle it over the top of the pasta/white sauce mixture, top with cheese and cracker topping as described. Tastes like lasagna.

Use tomato sauce instead of spaghetti sauce.

Top with panko, Japanese bread crumbs, instead (I used what I had)

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