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Beef & Pasta Casserole

This was billed as a one dish meal - which often I'm a big fan. However, this ended up being a two dish meal for me, three if you count the food processor.  I didn't have a big enough skillet that could go in the oven. The one that would fit all the ingredients, the handle isn't oven worthy, and Griselda is not quite large enough. But all in all, this was so worth it. There's also a lot of tweaking that you can probably do.

Beef & Pasta Casserole (Adapted from Cooking Light)

1 large onion, quartered
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 3" pieces
1T olive oil
4 clove garlic, minced
1 t dried basil
1/2 t oregano
1lb ground beef (or turkey)
3 c chicken stock
2T tomato paste
1T balsamic vinegar
1lb pasta (rigatoni, ziti, penne)
28 oz can whole tomatoes
4 oz Fontina cheese (or mozzarella), sliced 1/8" thick
1/4 c Parmesan cheese, grated

Place onion and carrots in food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Saute in olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet (or Dutch oven if you don't have an oven-safe skillet also grease a casserole dish with butter). Add salt and saute for about 4 minutes. Add garlic, basil, and oregano and continue to saute until fragrant. Add beef and saute for about 5 minutes. Add stock, tomato paste, vinegar, pasta, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for 13 minutes or until pasta is still firm but not hard. Stirring frequently. Pour into greased casserole dish if using. Gently stir in the fontina. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 or until pasta is done.

As I said there's a lot tweaking you can do. I used the beef, but I think you could use turkey. Pork might work as well. They recommend mozzarella, I used Fontina. Gruyere wouldn't hurt anyone either. They suggest fresh basil, the garden isn't there yet so no fresh basil on hand.


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