Epicurious, I Love Mark Bittman, and Weeknight Baked Pasta

Years ago when I first started venturing onto food and recipe sites way back when, Epicurious was one of the first places I discovered and used regularly to find great recipes.  I’m so excited that my book, Soup Day is now featured on their site!  Read the article here.

Another food site I enjoy is Mark Bittman’s blog, Bitten, which is now part of a combined super site of NY Times dining blogs called Diner’s Journal.

I love Mark Bittman.  I have several cookbooks and I read his columns in the NY Times and now in Cooking Light regularly.  I love how his recipes are open to improvisation, and I adore his enthusiasm for healthy eating.

Have you see him lately?  He has lost a lot of weight!  I’ve noticed that his recipes have trended towards more vegetable based ones – probably because he’s eating this way now.  Following his doctor’s recommendation he went vegan – well, he’s vegan for most of the day until dinner, then it’s anything goes.  Still, he has improved his health and lost a lot of weight in the process.  An interesting article on his diet transformation can be found here.

Last week, I decided to try his lighted version of Bolognese sauce found in his column, The Enlightened Cook, in Cooking Light.  It is based on mostly mushrooms with just a bit of meat.  If you are a vegetarian, you could omit the meat altogether.  I kept it in because I wanted to flavor and extra protein.  But because the sauce wasn’t dominated by the meat, it is much lighter, though you wouldn’t know it by the flavor.  Here is a link to the recipe.

Photo by John Autry for Cooking Light

I changed it by accident by mistakenly using a 28-oz. can of tomatoes instead of a 14-oz. one, so it was probably thinner than his which we didn’t mind.  Jamie and Denis loved it (Jamie: “This is the BEST sauce I’ve ever had!”) which is a plus and nice that it’s mostly plant based.

Since I made a full recipe, we had a nice portion of leftovers after one meal.  I decided to re-purpose it and create a baked pasta dish–a la baked ziti.  This is another easy weeknight dish and a great way to use leftovers while fooling your family (for those leftover haters.)

I put the sauce and leftover pasta in a 13” x 9” baking dish and added a bit more sauce (TJ’s organic marinara) to loosen it up.  Then I covered it with foil and baked at 350 degress for about 20 minutes.  I topped it with a mix of smoky mozzarella and regular mozzarella and grated parmesan cheeses and baked it uncovered for about 5-7 minutes to until the cheese was melted.  You could also broil it if you wanted that brown, mottled top.  It was really delicious.  We had it with a fresh baguette and a side salad. You would never have known it was a “leftover”!

Easy Baked Pasta


Any kind of leftover pasta with sauce

Extra sauce if you’d like

Shredded Mozzarella and grated parmesan cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Put leftover pasta in a 13”x9” dish sprayed with non-stick spray and spread into an even layer.  Add extra sauce if you wish.
  3. Cover with aluminum foil.  Bake for about 20 minutes to heat through.
  4. Uncover pan, cover with cheese, and bake uncovered for another 5-7 minutes until cheese is melted.  Alternatively, broil to melt cheese, watching closely.
  5. Cut into squares and serve.


Filed under Dinner

15 responses to “Epicurious, I Love Mark Bittman, and Weeknight Baked Pasta

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Epicurious, I Love Mark Bittman, and Weeknight Baked Pasta « The Hungry Artist -- Topsy.com

  2. I love baked pasta dishes because the bake-time gives you time to set the table, make the sides, and serve the bread.

    About going vegan, I’m pretty sure if I did that I would gain 20 pounds. I love vegan and vegetarian foods, but to get the protein I need to feel good, I have to stick with the occasional chicken breast. Everybody’s different. Anyway, I could totally do Bittman’s “vegan-until-dinner” diet!

  3. Hi Melissa, Congrats about your book feature on Epicurious! That’s so wonderful! 🙂 My husband makes a baked pasta for us sometimes with our leftover. I will need to the try the CL recipe as I am always using Ragu! LOL.

  4. Congrats!! These is great news! 🙂 Love Mark Bittman too, I need to transform my diet!

  5. i think that we should focus more on healthy eating to avoid diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.””

  6. Thanks ! I hope you all like it!!

  7. That pasta dish is sooo up my alley. I’m trying to eat a bit healthier and I am going to give it a try!! Love your site. Great recipes and wonderful stories. XO

  8. Your recipes are delicious, and your illustrations are beautiful. I look forward to reading your website often.

  9. healthy eating should be our top priority since there are many junk foods and foods with no nutritional value these days .~~

  10. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be actually something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and very broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

  11. What i don’t understood is actually how you’re not really much more well-liked than you might be right now. You’re very intelligent. You realize therefore significantly relating to this subject, made me personally consider it from so many varied angles. Its like women and men aren’t fascinated unless it is one thing to accomplish with Lady gaga! Your own stuffs great. Always maintain it up!

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