When I got married almost eleven years ago, I loved to cook. However, I hadn't grown up with a lot of scratch cooking. Most of the meals I knew how to cook involved some prepared ingredients: onion soup mix, enchilada sauce mix, jarred pasta sauce, velveeta, cool whip, etc. So I started off using them myself... Until I slowly learned more about really cooking without them. Around the time I was making the transition, I purchased several slim cookbooks from Albertson's. They were from Better Homes and Gardens, with titles like Soups and Stews, Chicken, and Pasta. They were simple straightforward recipes that I quickly outgrew.
There was one recipe though that my husband absolutely loved. Long after I misplaced the Pasta cookbook, he would mention it. Every time he did I would think about trying to find it, I believe I sold the cookbook in a garage sale years ago...
Finally, a couple of months ago, I went online and tracked it down. I didn't make it until last night though. My husband was thrilled when he saw what I was making. Especially since, I even made some homemade garlic bread to go alongside. (I believe he skipped my delicious mixed greens/cocoa nib/currant salad...) I was pleased that I still liked the result as well. Except the pasta needs to be removed from the boiling water before it is fully cooked. It got a little overcooked in the oven. I also didn't quite salt the meat mixture enough, make sure you salt to taste before you put it in the oven.
Baked Mostaccioli with Meat Sauce (Adapted from B,H, & G)
8 ounces dried Mostaccioli or cavatelli (I used Penne)
1 14-1/2 ounce can Italian-style tomatoes
1/2 of a 6-ounce can tomato paste
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound ground beef (I used ground chuck)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup halved pimento-stuffed green olives (most important ingredient!)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (4 ounces)
Cook pasta until nearly done. Drain pasta; rinse with cold water. Drain again.
In a blender container or food processor bowl combine undrained tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, sugar, oregano, thyme, and pepper. Cover and blend or proces until smooth. Set aside.
In a large skillet cook ground beef, onion, and garlic until meat is brown. Drain fat. Stir in tomato mixture. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes; salt and pepper to taste. Stir in pasta and olives.
Spoon the mixture into a 2-quart casserole, and bake for 30 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake 5 minutes more or until heated through.