Or: evidence that you can have baked pasta even though all the pasta in the house is vermicelli. It will still work! Things will just be slipperier to serve.
This pasta was really, really, really good. The day after we made it, John asked me repeatedly why I liked it so much. Er. I kind of have no idea. It had lots of vegetables in it, and I like vegetables? That's certainly why I put all the vegetables in it. So it's either that or the whole head of slowly cooked, perfect whole cloves of garlic. Yeah. That must be it.
Makes tons for days of garlicky lunches!
Baky pasta bake
lots of garlic, I think more than a head
a hot pepper
a bag of brown mushrooms
most of a bunch of spinach
salt, pepper, oregano, basil
probably dry vermouth although I can't remember it
mozzarella/other cheese if you feel like it
Cook pasta at an appropriate point! Drain when done! Set aside!! YES.
Get some olive oil into a pan. Mince and add a shallot. Smash, peel, and add a whole bunch of garlic. Cook the garlic slowly, so it gets all soft and sweet and happy. Chop and add a hot red pepper, and cook them together. Spice with basil and oregano. Add a splash of dry vermouth if you feel like it.
While these are softening, chop the mushrooms into big chunks. Add them to the pan. Cut the zucchini into quarter-inchish chunks. Add them to the pan. Wash and destem all the spinach. Don't add that to the pan, but set it aside for a minute. Instead, add a bunch of tomato business to the pan. I was using canned crushed business, so I added it late in the game. If you are adding fresh chopped tomatoes, add them early early, like right after the red pepper, and give them some time to reduce before adding any other vegetables. At this point also add some reasonable salt and pepper.
You can clearly use practically any vegetables you want in this sauce; just add them in enough time to infuse them with all the beautiful beautiful garlic. At some point I will definitely do one with artichoke hearts, black olives, and feta.
Correct any seasonings, then cook the sauce until the pasta is ready to go. While it's simmering, you can be grating cheese and chopping the spinach up a little. You can also preheat the oven to 325 or 350F.
Assembly: first, get some sauce into the bottom of a casserole dish. Spread it all around. Then! Dump all your cooked pasta into the rest of the sauce. Mix it up, then put a layer of saucy pasta into the dish. Add a layer of spinach, then a layer of cheese (if you want cheese). Keep layering until everything is gone. Unless you really like crispy oven spinach, end with a layer of pasta, then of cheese.
Stick it in the oven and bake until you can no longer stand it, or until cheese is nice and browned. A half hour should do it.
Now eat it!
The next day, cut out a chunk and bring it for lunch. You will notice that it's much easier to cut and serve when cold. Do the same thing the next day. Eat it eat it!
If you have leftovers after this, you clearly share the house with someone who doesn't like mushrooms. In this case, you might want to engineer leftover pasta into crispy frying pan pasta.
Crispy leftover frying pan pasta: Cut a chunk of leftover pasta. Whack it into a medium-hot frying pan and cook to sizzly crispy business on side one. Flip and do the same on size two. Now eat it as well!
This type of business clearly demands a gigantic salad and red wine.