There's nothing like pasta, the ultimate comfort food, to feed a small army of company at the holidays. It's tasty, it's easy, and it can usually be made ahead, all pluses in my book so that I can serve a delicious meal to my friends and family but also be able to relax on the day of and during the party instead of running myself ragged, cooking.
Traditionally at New Year's Eve, I make a big lasagna, but this year I went to the same song, different verse, choosing to created a Baked Mostaccili dish instead.
Several of my guests plus friends on Facebook asked for the recipe, so this is it: Glenna's Baked Mostaccioli for a Crowd. Even though the recipe easily serves 8-10, it can easily be cut in half for a family dinner or can be made as a whole and split into two separate baking dishes, freezing one for later.
Recipe by Glenna Anderson Muse
One of the great things about this recipe is that so much of it can be done in advance so that you're not stuck cooking all day on the same day you're having lots of company over for dinner.
- 1/2 batch All Day Slow Cooker Meat Sauce for Pasta (3-4 cups)
- 16 oz penne or mostaccioli pasta, cooked to very firm and seasoned with salt and pepper
- 2 24 oz Alfredo sauce, commercially prepared such as Bertollii Classico OR 1 batch Homemade Alfredo Sauce such as this recipe from Olive Garden.
- 4 oz Provel cheese
- 4 oz shredded Italian blend cheese
1) Prepare All Day Slow Cooker Meat Sauce for Pasta ahead of time. Freeze leftovers not used in this recipe for another time (you'll be glad you did). Can be made ahead and stored in fridge for a day or two until needed.
Buy or prepare Alfredo sauce ahead of time. Doesn't need to be hot to complete recipe. Can be made ahead and stored in fridge for a day or two until needed.
Pre-cook pasta ahead of time. Can store in fridge in ziploc bag until ready for use.
2) Grease a 12-14 cup baking dish (approx 10"x13"x4") and set aside.
3) In 4 qt mixing bowl, toss pasta with meat sauce. Pour into baking dish.
4) Top with alfredo sauce, then cheeses.
All of the prep up to this point can be done a day or two ahead of time. When ready to bake, take baking dish out of fridge and allow to sit on cabinet for 1 hour to come close to room temp.
5) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake, uncovered, for 70-85 minutes or until edges bubble and cheese is melted and nicely browned. (The closer the mostacciloi is to room temp when baking, the less time it will take.)
Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.