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Baked Mostaccioli

healty meal, low carbs meals, keto meal

Indulge in the comforting flavors of Italian cuisine with our delicious Baked Mostaccioli recipe. This hearty dish features tender pasta, savory meat, flavorful marinara sauce, and gooey cheese, all baked to perfection. Whether you’re cooking for a family dinner or hosting a casual gathering with friends, this recipe is sure to please even the pickiest of eaters. So, let’s roll up our sleeves and create a meal that will have everyone coming back for seconds!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Mostaccioli pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef or Italian sausage (depending on your preference)
  • 1 (24-ounce) jar of your favorite marinara sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  2. Cook Mostaccioli: Cook the Mostaccioli pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  3. Sauté Onion and Garlic: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic, and sauté until they are softened and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Brown Meat: Add the ground beef or Italian sausage to the skillet with the onion and garlic. Cook, breaking up the meat with a spatula, until it is browned and cooked through.
  5. Combine Pasta and Sauce: In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked Mostaccioli pasta, browned meat mixture, marinara sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and mix until everything is well combined.
  6. Transfer to Baking Dish: Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish, spreading it out evenly.
  7. Top with Cheese: Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup of grated Parmesan cheese evenly over the top of the pasta.
  8. Bake: Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  9. Garnish and Serve: Remove the foil from the baking dish and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly. Garnish with fresh basil leaves if desired, and serve hot.

Cook’s Notes and Variations:

  • Vegetarian Option: Make this dish vegetarian by omitting the ground beef or Italian sausage. Instead, add extra vegetables such as diced bell peppers, zucchini, or mushrooms for added flavor and texture.
  • Add Extra Heat: For a spicy kick, add a pinch of red pepper flakes or a dash of hot sauce to the meat mixture before combining with the pasta and sauce.
  • Make it Cheesier: Add extra shredded mozzarella cheese or mix in some ricotta cheese for an even creamier texture.

Keto and Low Carb Versions:

  • Keto Option: To make this recipe keto-friendly, substitute the Mostaccioli pasta with spiralized zucchini or shirataki noodles. Use a low-carb marinara sauce and ensure the meat used is keto-friendly. Replace the Mostaccioli pasta with spiralized zucchini or shirataki noodles. Use a low-carb marinara sauce and ensure the meat used is keto-friendly. Substitute the Parmesan cheese with a keto-friendly cheese such as cheddar or Gouda. Serve with a side of roasted vegetables or a crisp green salad.
  • Low Carb Option: Follow the keto option above and further reduce the carb content by using a homemade marinara sauce with no added sugar or carbohydrates. Omit the onions and garlic to reduce the carb content further. Serve with a side of steamed broccoli or cauliflower rice.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Can I use a different type of pasta?

A: Absolutely! Feel free to use any type of pasta you prefer or have on hand, such as penne, rigatoni, or fusilli.

Q: Can I use store-bought marinara sauce?

A: Yes, store-bought marinara sauce works perfectly fine for this recipe. Choose your favorite brand or variety for the best flavor.

Q: Can I make this dish ahead of time?

A: Yes, you can assemble the casserole ahead of time and refrigerate it, covered, until ready to bake. Simply follow the instructions up to step 6, then cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and refrigerate. When ready to bake, remove from the refrigerator, let it come to room temperature, and then bake as directed.

Q: Can I freeze leftovers of Baked Mostaccioli?

A: Yes, you can freeze leftover baked Mostaccioli in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating in the oven or microwave.

Q: Can I customize the ingredients?

A: Absolutely! Feel free to customize the ingredients to your liking by adding additional vegetables, herbs, or spices. You can also experiment with different types of cheese for a unique flavor profile.

With its hearty ingredients and comforting flavors, Baked Mostaccioli is a classic Italian dish that’s perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re serving it up for a family dinner or a casual gathering with friends, this satisfying meal is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser. So, gather your ingredients, preheat your oven, and get ready to enjoy a delicious taste of Italy right in your own kitchen. Buon appetito!

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healty meal, low carbs meals, keto meal

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