The diced provolone creates lovely little pockets of melted cheese throughout the casserole as it bakes. Cook the pasta while the tomato mixture simmers.
Cooking Light DECEMBER 2006
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
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