Baked Pasta with Mozzarella and Tomato

You could call this lazy man’s lasagna, but it’s really a cross between lasagna and Mac and Cheese. It’s a perfect solution when you want the taste of lasagna but don’t want to do all the work. Assemble it in the morning and bake it at night.

Serves 6 to 8.

4 to 5 cups Traditional Meat Sauce or No-Nonsense Ten-Minute Pasta Sauce
¾ pound medium-size shaped pasta, such as penne, cooked and cooled
1 pound fresh or American mozzarella cheese, cubed
½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Place the sauce and pasta in a large bowl and mix well. Transfer about one third of this mixture to a 9 x 13-inch pan and top it with one third of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat the layers twice, and then top with the Parmesan. ( You can cover and refrigerate up to 2 days.)

3. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the sauce is bubbling and the top is lightly browned, about 20 to 30 minutes. Set aside to cool for about 10 minutes. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate up to 3 days.

From The $50 Dinner Party: 26 Dinner Parties That Won’t Break Your Bank, Your Back, or Your Schedule (Simon & Schuster, 1998)