This recipe is all about layers - and instead of cooking the pasta separately, it's cooked in the oven with the other ingredients.
This dish is very hearty and perfect for a cold evening at home.
We adapted this recipe from Everyday Food's Tomato, Pasta, and Potato Bake with items we had on hand and some sliced pork belly we had bought.
1 box (1 lb) dried penne
extra virgin olive oil
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, chopped
dried oregano (fresh is better if you have it)
1 lb yukon gold potatoes, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 strips of thinly sliced pork belly
salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. Fill a kettle and boil water.
3. Put your baking dish on top of a baking sheet.
4. Add oil to baking dish (we used our Le Creuset 8 x 12 baking dish).
5. Cover the dish with a single layer of dried penne (half the box).
6. Add 1/3 of the canned tomatoes on top.
7. Sprinkle with garlic and dried oregano.
8. Add a layer of potatoes (1/2 of the sliced potatoes).
9. Add the onions on top.
10. Add a layer of pork belly. (If you want to make the dish vegetarian, this step can be omitted)
11. Add 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese on top. The other half will be used later.
12. Now we just repeat the steps starting with the second half of penne.
13. Then you add another 1/3 of canned tomatoes, more oregano, the other half of sliced potatoes, and finally, the last 1/3 of tomatoes.
14. Now add enough boiling water to cover the last layer of potatoes. The boiling water will start cooking the dried pasta, pork belly, and potatoes.
15. Cover the entire dish in foil to trap the heat and help cook everything in the oven.
16. Bake for about 1 hour or until all the water has been absorbed.
17. Take the dish out of the oven and cover it with the rest of the Parmesan cheese.
18. Put the dish back in the oven for about 20 minutes, without the foil, to brown the cheese.
19. That's it! Let the hot dish stand for about 10 minutes, slice, and serve. This dish would go well with a side salad and a nice glass of red wine. Enjoy!