Coronavirus Survival — Cooking From the Pantry, Baked Pasta Recipe

So, what staples do you have in pantry? Beans, pasta, root vegetables, some dairy, meat in the freezer, cans of tomatoes? Need some ideas for all that? I can help.

Last night we made chili, which we will have again tonight with baked sweet potatoes. Tomorrow’s lunch will be chili dogs. Here’s my chili recipe.

Today, let me share the most basic of recipes, Baked Pasta. Super easy. And a local favorite. With Steve and I eating low carb stuff lately, I haven’t made this dish in ages. With a house of boys, it seemed like a good time to return to a classic.

Baked Pasta, Jersey Style

  • 1 box of Pasta (acceptable shapes penne, medium shells, ziti, cellentani)
  • 1 or 2 eggs, depending on size. This is just to bind everything together
  • 1 jar of sauce (pay more for better)
  • 1 large brick of Polly-O mozzarella
  • 1/2 plus two spoons of the medium container of Polly-O ricotta
  • 3/4 of a bag of spinach
  • parsley
  • parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare the guts. Chop the mozzarella into small squares. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the mozzarella. Chop up the fresh spinach. Mix together the mozzarella, ricotta (remember don’t use the whole container), half a cup of parmesan cheese, lots of fresh pepper, 1 egg, and spinach.
  3. Prepare the pasta in salted water. Cook until very al dente. Like still a little white in the middle. Drain. Do not rinse pasta. Add about half the jar of sauce to your pasta. I used some generic Whole Foods sauce for this. There is some much better stuff on the shelf these days, as well as homemade, of course, but I don’t think that’s necessary for a baked dish like this. All the effort should go into bringing good stuff together.

4. Now you’re ready to build. Add a glug of the sauce to the bottom of a baking pan. Then add 1/3 of the semi-cooked pasta. Then add half of the cheese combo, then 1/3 of the semi-cooked pasta, 1/2 of the cheese guts, last of the semi-cooked pasta on top.

5. On top of the pasta layers, pour out the rest of the sauce and spread it around with a spoon. Add the last of the mozzarella, more parmesan cheese, and freshly chopped parsley. Cover everything with aluminum foil.

6. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes until the cheese is bubbling all the way through and the pasta is entirely cooked. By this time, the spinach will be cooked, too. If you like your pasta dish slightly crispy, take off the aluminum foil ten minutes before it’s finished.

There are plenty of ways to upgrade this dish and make it more interesting. You can make a white sauce or add different kinds of meat and vegetables.

13 thoughts on “Coronavirus Survival — Cooking From the Pantry, Baked Pasta Recipe

  1. Keep them coming. Older doesn’t eat cheese, so I’m always looking for dishes like this (pantry staples, simple) that don’t use cheese. Our current go tos (neither of which I cook) are a sausage & pepper fry-up w/ pasta and a tofu stir fry. She cooks the 2nd. Neither is shelf stable friendly, though — if we get to that point, she’ll be eating pasta with bottled sauce.


  2. We eat less than your family, I think. One teen boy, instead of two I think has a pretty enormous impact.


  3. I’m assuming I can still go to the grocery store on Sunday. We’ll have food left then, but not food I’d enjoy eating.


  4. I had to queue up at our local Whole Foods. They are now open 8 AM-8PM and limit the number of people in the store. I stood in a short (4 people) line, spaced 6 feet apart, and we were allowed to enter when someone left. The store was empty enough that I could be six feet away at all times. I ended up not getting a couple of things because people were slowly deciding in front of them. But, all in all, made for a pretty pleasant shopping experience. I also had to bag my own groceries.


      1. That’s the main thing. I could order delivery but I want to be able to adjust (if one thing is missing, there are other items I don’t want) and I figure the person pulling the order is at least as likely to be a vector as I am.


  5. There’s plenty of fresh food at our local markets, though there are more bare shelves than would be customary, so you have to be a little flexible. Also plenty of toilet paper, although the local Duane Reade is rationing it to two packages per customer (which would be eight rolls).


    1. y81 said, “There’s plenty of fresh food at our local markets, though there are more bare shelves than would be customary, so you have to be a little flexible.”

      Our family has bought a bunch of stuff we’ve never gotten before. Canned mackerel, for example.

      I’m afraid we’re going to have ample opportunities to eat it, too.


      1. Why are buying stuff you’ve never eaten? That sounds like a recipe for misery. And, is contrary to any prepper advice.


      2. Tulip said, “Why are buying stuff you’ve never eaten? That sounds like a recipe for misery. And, is contrary to any prepper advice.”

        Because they often don’t have what we usually buy, so we are buying what they’ve got.


  6. I made this last night for our little family–used penne rigate and Rao’s marinara, my favorite sauce for just about everything–was fabulous, and we have enough for at least one more meal. IUt did need to bake longer than 35-40 minutes–closer to an hour. Well worth the wait! Thanks for sharing this.


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