After a long hard week of work at the hospital, I was seriously craving some comfort food. I wanted PASTA! Cheesy, tomato-y, flavor packed pasta!
This dish contains a lot of ingredients that can be on the pricey side, but, in true Budget Bytes fashion, if you bulk it up with inexpensive ingredients like pasta and homemade pasta sauce, the price per serving stays fairly low. Another trick is to use the expensive ingredients in small amounts because they tend to be pretty potent flavor contributors anyway. I’ll admit, I went a little crazy with the feta, but you could probably add half of what I did, cut the cost considerably, and still get a major flavor punch!
I made this dish vegetarian, but if you want something meatier, try sauteing up some Italian sausage and stirring it into the mix. Or, you could go the puttanesca route and saute up some anchovy, onion, and garlic and stir that in. Mushrooms would also be fantastic here. Lots of possibilities!
Oh! And if you’re short on time, you can skip the baking step all together and just have a fantastic bowl of pasta. Super easy and super quick!
Artichoke Pasta Bake
Artichoke Pasta Bake
Artichoke pasta bake is an easy vegetarian alternative to lasagna.
- 1 lb pasta (rigatoni or penne) $1.59
- 4 cups homemade pasta sauce $2.94
- 14 oz can artichoke hearts $2.70
- 6 oz can whole black olives $1.55
- 8 oz jar sliced banana peppers $1.18
- 4 oz feta, crumbled $1.74
- 1/4 cup parmesan, grated $0.39
- 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, shredded $1.50
- 1/2 bunch Italian parsley $0.40
Cook the pasta according to the package directions (boil for 7-10 minutes). Drain the pasta and return it to the pot (turn the burner off). Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
While the pasta is cooking, drain and roughly chop the artichoke hearts and black olives. Rinse and chop the parsley. Remove the banana peppers from the juices in the jar.
After the pasta has been drained and returned to the pot, add the pasta sauce, artichoke hearts, black olives, banana peppers, and chopped parsley. Stir everything together. Add the parmesan, feta, and a half cup of the mozzarella. Stir to combine.
Transfer the pasta mixture to a 9 x 11 inch glass casserole dish and top with the remaining 1 cup of shredded mozzarella. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes (or until heated through and the cheese is melted). Remove from the oven and sprinkle with a little more chopped parsley.
Step By Step Photos
Begin by cooking the pasta. Okay, don’t do it like this… remove it from the bag first! If you’re going to bake this recipe casserole style, make sure to cook the pasta al dente. If you’re going to skip the baking step, you can cook the pasta a little longer or until fully tender.
I used one can of black olives, one can of artichoke hearts and half of a 16 oz. jar of sliced banana peppers. Banana peppers come in both mild or hot, but I chose hot because I wanted a kick.
While the pasta is cooking, drain and roughly chop both the artichoke hearts and the black olives. Also rinse and chop the parsley. Begin preheating the oven to 400 degrees.
Drain the cooked pasta and return it to the pot (with the heat turned off). Add the pasta sauce, artichoke hearts, black olives, banana peppers, and chopped parsley. Stir to combine.
Add the feta, parmesan, and a half cup of the shredded mozzarella. Stir to combine.
Transfer the pasta mixture to a 9 x 11 inch baking dish and top with the rest of the shredded mozzarella. Cover the dish with foil to keep the pasta from drying out in the oven, and bake for 30 minutes.
Top the dish with a touch more chopped parsley and enjoy!