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Three-Cheese Baked Pasta

Yield 8 servings (serving size: about 1 1/2 cups)
The diced provolone creates lovely little pockets of melted cheese throughout the casserole as it bakes. Cook the pasta while the tomato mixture simmers.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups diced onion
  • 1/3 cup diced carrot
  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic (about 12 cloves)
  • 1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (packed without oil)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons chopped fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese, divided
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1 pound uncooked penne rigate (tube-shaped pasta)
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) diced provolone cheese
  • Cooking spray

Nutrition Information

  • calories 459
  • caloriesfromfat 28 %
  • fat 14.1 g
  • satfat 8.4 g
  • monofat 4.8 g
  • polyfat 0.9 g
  • protein 23 g
  • carbohydrate 59.2 g
  • fiber 5.8 g
  • cholesterol 33 mg
  • iron 2.9 mg
  • sodium 810 mg
  • calcium 517 mg

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.

  2. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery; cook 10 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring frequently. Add garlic; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add sun-dried tomatoes, thyme, crushed red pepper, and diced tomatoes; cook 25 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.

  3. Combine 1 cup Romano, ricotta, parsley, and egg white in a bowl.

  4. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain; return pasta to pan. Add ricotta mixture to pan, stirring to coat. Add tomato mixture and provolone, tossing just until combined (do not overstir). Spoon pasta mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Romano. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until bubbly and top is browned.

  5. Wine note: Here's one of the best-kept secrets in food and wine pairing: Cheese often works better with white wine than red. As proof, try this delicious cheesy baked pasta casserole with a crisp white such as pinot grigio, and watch how the wine's zesty acidity cuts through the richness of the cheeses. A favorite: Bollini Pinot Grigio from Italy. The 2004 is $ -Karen MacNeil