I say famous because my best friend and neighbor will eat this stuff anytime, anywhere, no matter what. She can smell it and knows that it’s my Awesome Pasta. My kids also love this stuff. When they see me making it, they get so excited for dinner.
Awesome Pasta came into existence because I was searching for a way to make spaghetti healthier. Spaghetti, to me, is inexpensive food that helps to save the budget. It’s tasty enough that the kids don’t get sick of it and costs almost nothing to make. But I was dissatisfied with the serious lack of vegetables in it. So, I started adding veggies to my spaghetti sauce. It was a little weird.
I found a recipe for baked spaghetti and tried that with my veggies but did not like trying to dish the long noodles after they were cooked, so I switched the noodles. Then I figured out to add the Parmesan, and finally, I topped it with cheese at the very end.
This whole process took a few months. And when I succeeded the first time, I couldn’t remember what I did the next time I tried to make it. That was frustrating, but I think what I eventually came up with was way better than that first time. I love this dish. If I ever make it for you, it’s because I care.
The other day, we were watching one of those British cooking shows as a family. The challenge was to make a pasta bake. That’s the first time I realized what kind of food Awesome Pasta is. My daughter, who loves watching cooking shows with me, said, “You should make your Awesome Pasta on that show. You’d win because it’s the best!”
The Allergy Stuff
I’ll start with our allergies. One of the early things I realized when my husband was diagnosed with an egg allergy, was that a lot of noodles have eggs in them. Thankfully it’s really easy to find noodles that don’t. But, if you’re making this for someone with allergies, and you’re new to cooking without allergens, make sure to read the label on the package you buy. Some of the best-looking noodles acquire that look by using eggs. We use the cheap store brand noodles because thankfully my husband is not sensitive to stuff processed in a facility that handles eggs.
Leave out the Parmesan cheese. I’ve tried alternatives to it, and they do not work, so leave it out. It’s still delicious without it. For the cheese on top, I liked the Daiya Pepper Jack cheese. The spiciness of it adds a different flavor to this dish, but it’s good. If that doesn’t work for you, this dish is good without the cheese as well. Most of this dish is consumed without the cheese anyway because it’s all on the top. Once you get past that first layer of cheese, it’s just Awesome Pasta.
*warning* That’s no excuse to serve this with regular cheese to someone with a milk allergy. You never know where that cheese is going to melt into. If you must have regular cheese, make them a separate dish without the cheese.
I’m sorry, I haven’t tested this, so take this for what it’s worth. I am convinced that this dish would work with any kind of noodle. There are many kinds available. If you don’t know where to find them, a health food store is always a safe bet. Also, if grains, in general, are a problem, you could leave out the noodles altogether and put in a lot of veggies. You could spiral squash to make it like baked spaghetti. However, I wouldn’t do spaghetti squash, just because you’d have to cook it first, and that takes a lot of time. But it would probably taste good.
How would you adjust this for your allergies? Comment below so we can try out your version.
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 16 oz. rotini pasta
- 1 onion diced
- 2-3 zucchini or yellow squash quartered and cut into 1/4″ pieces
- 15 oz can tomato sauce
- 15 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1/2 tsp. basil
- 1 tsp. thyme
- 1 tsp. parsley
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 °F.
- Boil water for the pasta. While the water is coming to a boil, begin browning the ground beef. Add the pasta tot he water and cook according to the package directions. When the beef is browned, add the onions and squash to saute. Cover beef with a lid to help cook the vegetables evenly.
- Once the pasta is cooked, drain the noodles and place them in a 9×13 inch baking dish. Add the beef and vegetables to the dish when the vegetables are soft. Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, oregano, basil, thyme, parsley, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Mix gently to incorporate all the ingredients throughout the dish.
- Cover dish with tin foil, shiny side down. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and take the foil off. Sprinkle cheese over the pasta. Return to the oven and cook for 5 more minutes until cheese is melted.