Friday, September 3, 2010

Day 245: Tomato Florentine Pasta Bake

I was really intrigued by the spices in this recipe, especially the cinnamon.  I've added cinnamon to chili and some Middle Eastern dishes, but never to an Italian dish.  I knew I had to try this just because of the cinnamon.  This came from a Taste of Home magazine.

Tomato Florentine Pasta Bake
10" dutch oven

1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 (15oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1/2 cup water
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups uncooked penne pasta
1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese (I used cottage cheese)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

In your dutch oven, cook the beef and onion over a full spread of coals.  Drain if necessary and add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, oregano, sugar, cinnamon, garlic powder and red pepper.  Bring to a boil. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta until it is al dente; drain well.  Combine the pasta, spinach and sauce and mix well.  Spread half the pasta mixture in the pot.  Spread ricotta evenly over the pasta and top with remaining sauce mixture.  Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and it is heated through.  Use 1 ring on the top and the bottom.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.  Serves 6.
The Finished Product

The Review

The spices in this were really good.  You could taste just a hint of cinnamon, but it blended really well with the garlic and red pepper.  It would be hard to identify if you didn't know it was there.  Except for the 1 spinach hater in my house, everyone really liked this.  It was different and spicy and full of flavor.  I served this with sourdough bread and salad.  This was also very easy.  I'll make this again.  Grade A-.

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