Baked Cellentani

Yesterday I came home from work to a very hungry Gamer Man. He was so hungry he had absolutely ZERO dinner suggestions. Usually this is code for “I want pasta” so… pasta bake it is!

 

This can really be made with any type of short noodle you have on hand. I dig cellentani because it’s swirly and curvy. Like me ;) And if you don’t have ricotta cheese in the fridge, make a bechamel sauce! Super simple, majorly yummy :)

Baked Cellentani:
2 cups dry cellentani
1 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce
2 links sweet Italian sausage, uncased and crumbled
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Bechamel:
2 Tbs butter
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste
2 cups milk
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare a baking sheet with foil and place two 2cup ramekins on sheet.

In a medium sauce pan, melt butter and add flour stirring vigorously, making sure no chunks of flour exist. Add salt, pepper, and milk. Stirring constantly, cook for 5-7 minutes or until sauce thickens (it should thickly coat the back of a spoon… and taste DELICIOUS). Add 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, stir until cheese is melted. Set aside.

Cook pasta aldente as directed on box. Drain and rinse with COLD water to halt the cooking. It will continue cooking in the oven… I promise :)

In a frying pan, cook sausage until no longer pink. Add garlic and sautee for another 2 minutes. Add spaghetti sauce to the frying pan and heat through. Add pasta to the sauce (or sauce to the pasta) and toss until everything is coated.

Time to prep! I put a couple tablespoons of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of each ramekin to make sure the pasta doesn’t stick. You can use Pam or butter, or whatever you like :) Layer like so: 1/4 of the pasta-sauce mixture in each ramekin, top with 1 cup bechamel, top with remaining pasta-sauce mixture evenly divided between, and finish off with 1/2 of shredded mozzarella on each.

Place the ramekins on your foiled baking sheet. Tent with foil because you definitely don’t want the cheese to burn after you’ve gone to all the trouble to make this! Bake for 25 minutes, the last ten of which you’ll want to remove your foil tent (yes, you can wear it on your head now… unless you find some stalagmites!!!) because you want some of that cheese to get nice and crunchy.

Let cool for 5 minutes and serve with salad, or in my case, garlic bread! Can you tell we don’t believe in Atkins over here?

...nomnomnom...

 

GamerGirl

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