I'm a huge fan of the casserole. In general, I love the process of putting a few key ingredients together in a pan, baking said pan, and coming out with a pan of perfectly melded flavors.
We weren't a big casserole family when I was younger, but there was one specific casserole that my mom would make that I would look forward to each and every winter. It has a specific flavor and texture that I couldn't replicate no matter how many times I tried… turns out I was doing it wrong. I got the real recipe from my mom a few years ago, and have made it a few times since.
Noodles, tomato, bacon, ground beef, parmesan cheese, and a few veggies come together to make something that is so much greater than the sum of its parts. I used extra-lean ground beef and center-cut bacon, but ground turkey and turkey bacon could be substituted and no flavor would be sacrificed.
Adapted from the Antoinette Pope Cookbook
Ingredients (serves 8)
- 1 lb. ground beef or turkey
- 1 lb. whole wheat pasta, cooked and kept hot
- 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
- 5-6 strips bacon, cut into small pieces
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 1 sweet onion, diced
- 1 cup mushrooms, sliced (I left these out)
- parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 2 c. water
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
Preheat oven to 350*. Heat a large frying pan and add the pieces of bacon. Cook until crispy, and add the onion and peppers.
Cook until onions are translucent and peppers are softened. Add the mushrooms and cook a few minutes.
Add the ground beef or turkey. Cook until meat is cooked through.
In a casserole dish, put 1/3 of the cooked pasta, 1/2 the meat, and a generous sprinkle of parmesan.
Repeat with another third of the pasta, the rest of the meat, and more parmesan. End with the pasta.
In a separate vessel, mix together the tomato paste, water, and baking soda. Be careful, as it will froth up! Pour the tomato mixture on top of the meat and noodles and bake for about 25 minutes.
Top each serving with parmesan cheese and enjoy!