This is a really easy make-ahead dish for when you’re really busy. Cook half a box of small pasta shapes as directed on the package. Drain it and mix it with a jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce (or homemade) and a cup of ricotta. Mix in some parmesan or mozerellaif you want. Put it into a baking dish, top it with some more parmesan or mozerella and cook it at 4:00, covered with foil for 30-45 minutes. Then uncover it and cook it till the cheese on top is all melty and slightly browned. Serve it with more warmed-up spaghetti sauce on top. This will keep for several days in the fridge.
Pasta isn’t always considered healthy but the Italians eat it all the time and they are pretty healthy, so whatever. Probably if you eat Big Fat American portions of spaghetti and meatballs, or huge creamy dishes of fettuccine alfredo it’s not so good for you, but if you eat sensibly, you can for sure include pasta in your diet on a regular basis and still be healthy. Plus, it’s cheap.
These next three are really easy. Just cook some spaghetti in salted boiling water and either cook some veggies right in the water with the pasta, or roast it in the oven. Toss it together and add some cheese if you want. Fresh mozerella is delicious, and of course there’s always parmesan. Add some toasted nuts or bits of leftover meats. Top it off with some olive oil or a small amount of butter, even a small amount of cream adds silkiness without a ton of calories or fat. But be sure to keep it a SMALL amount.
Lasagna is not known as a light dish. Especially the American kind that’s loaded with cheese. But I like to make it from time to time anyway. There are a ton of recipes for lasagna, I’m sure you can find one if you don’t already have a favorite. Just don’t eat the whole pan! I usually make a small dish of it (one of those square Pyrex pans) or two dishes and freeze one.
Italian style lasagna is much lighter than the American kind. For one thing, there’s no mozerella in Italian lasagne. It’s also usually just two stacks of noodles, not three or four. This one had noodles, ricotta, a small amount of bechamel, mushrooms, and red sauce. There was no cheese inside it but it was topped with parmesean.It came from the Silver Spoon Cookbook which is a great authentic Italian cookbook.