Three-Cheese Baked Pasta

The diced provolone creates lovely little pockets of melted cheese throughout the casserole as it bakes. Cook the pasta while the tomato mixture simmers.

Yield:

8 servings (serving size: about 1 1/2 cups)

Recipe from

Nutritional 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

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

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°.

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.

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

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.

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 $10. -Karen MacNeil

Note:

Krista Montgomery, M.S., R.D.,

December 2006