Lately I’ve been craving pasta. I think it’s because I’ve been so tired. It seems to me that whenever I’m tired or have been really busy I want to eat pasta. There’s something about those carbohydrates that gives me a bit of energy while being comforting at the same time.
The reason I’ve been so tired is that we’ve been doing a kitchen remodel! That’s right, I’m talking cabinets, appliances, and countertops. As someone who practically lives in the kitchen it’s been really
hard not having one for a week. Everything was totally torn up so we didn’t even have a sink! We ended up eating out several days and then we did manage to grill for a few nights.
There were some problems with the remodel like cabinets not fitting and prices not matching but in the end it looks great. My husband and I also managed to do some work ourselves during this time but I’ll talk about that more in my kitchen renovation post.
Also during this period of time was the PARCC testing. This is the new state test in Maryland (and other states) and it’s stressful. I’m sure it’s worse for the kids but since I’m a special education teacher I had to give it to my students in grades 3, 4, and 5. This made for really long days for both the students and me. The tests are long and hard which makes it difficult for the students. They want me to help them and while I can read to them I can’t help them with anything.
So all of that is why I was tired and ready for a great pasta dish in my new oven. While I love traditional baked ziti I wanted to make something a little bit different. I found a recipe that called for the pasta and sauce to be started on the stove top and finished in the oven and that’s what I went with.
This isn’t your average pasta with sauce and cheese. The sauce has delicious vegetables in it as well as ground beef and seasonings. Then instead of shredded mozzarella on top I used fresh slices of whole mozzarella that I bought from an Italian grocer last week.
This pasta dish is awesome! The sauce is quickly cooked on the stove top but when it’s finished with the ground beef and pasta in the oven it really tastes like it’s been simmering for a few hours. I also thought the addition of balsamic vinegar to the sauce really added some depth to it. Then of course the fresh mozzarella on top made such a big difference from the shredded kind I normally use.
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 T. olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 T. dried Italian seasoning
- ½ t. crushed red pepper
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 2 c. beef stock
- 2 T. tomato paste
- 2 T. balsamic vinegar
- 6 oz. spaghetti
- 2 zucchini, spiralized into zoodles
- 1 large can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
- 4 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese cut into ⅛ inch thick slices
- 1 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Heat the olive oil in deep skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions and carrots and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the Italian seasoning and red pepper.
- Add the ground beef and cook for 7 or 8 minutes until the beef has browned.
- Stir in the beef stock, tomato paste, vinegar, pasta, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes.
- Pour the zoodles into a 9 x 13 then pour the beef and pasta mixture over top of the zoodles.
- Add the mozzarella cheese to the top of the pasta and place in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes.
- Serve the pasta dish with Parmesan cheese on top of it.