Has your child ever come home and told you that he or she volunteered you to bring a dish to a fundraiser or party? Well this has been a regular occurrence at my house from the time they started school. I’ve been volunteered to bring a dish, decor for a party, and to be the room mother, etc…. I have to say that I really don’t mind this…in fact, I love it! My girls have always been appreciative of my volunteering and being there for them. Of course, that’s as long as I don’t do anything embarrassing, like showing any type of affection in front of their friends. Isn’t it funny that affection is so embarrassing? I mean, I could see if I walked into the school dressed in a wild outfit or something. I’m thinking of the outfit that Neville Longbottom imagined that Professor Snape was wearing when he was trying to not be afraid of the Boggart in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Are there any other Harry Potter groupies out there who know what I’m talking about? Truthfully, while I remembered the scene on my own, my daughter just had to help me with the details. Oh to have a young memory again….
Getting back to the volunteering thing…I was recently asked to prepare two 9x13x2 pans of a pasta dish for our school’s forensics tournament. Our high school hosts this tournament each year and it’s a big one. One way to cover costs is to get as many parents to donate the pasta which is then sold in portions to the many hungry competitors from the other participating schools. My daughter is on the forensics team, so I MUST donate food, among other duties like judging too. Again, I truly enjoy being involved.
After many years of this, I’ve learned to throw together what I’ve now named my Donation Pasta dish. It’s simple, easy, quick and popular. The criteria are always very specific. The tins need to be 13x9x2 so that they fit into the warmers at the school. It also needs to be something that most kids like. I’ve found that a lot of the kids don’t seem to like the dishes with ricotta cheese as much as the ones without. It also seems as if meatless dishes work the best since vegetarianism is quite popular these days. My Donation Pasta dish makes both of these groups happy and always receives rave reviews. Wait until you see how simple this is.
I didn’t take pictures as I cooked this time, but the recipe is so easy that you’ll have this down pat in no time and then will be walking out the door with your tins of pasta for whatever event you’ve been volunteered for.
Here’s your recipe. This will make 2 tins for your event. Now sit back and watch the masses chow down. You’re awesome!
- 3 pounds of pasta. I like to use rigatoni for this.
- 3 jars of your favorite jarred sauce or use your own homemade tomato sauce. I use a tomato basil sauce. Remember, the point is to make this quick and easy. Good jarred sauce is your friend for this kind of thing.
- 3 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1½ cups of grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees unless not pre-baking the dishes before arrival.
- In a large pot, cook the pasta al dente, according to the instructions. It's important that the pasta be al dente because it will cook more during the baking process later. Make sure to heavily salt the cooking water as this is the only time to add flavor to the pasta itself.
- Drain the pasta and then put it back in the pot.
- Poor all three jars of the tomato sauce into the pot and stir to coat the pasta.
- Put your clean, dry tins next to each other on the counter and lightly coat with spray oil. I use spray olive oil.
- Pour ¼ of the pasta with sauce into each tin.
- Sprinkle ¼ of the mozzarella cheese on top of the pasta in each tin, followed by ¼ of the parmesan cheese.
- Repeat the last 2 steps so that there are 2 layers of pasta, mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese in each tin.
- If you are supposed to arrive with the dishes hot and ready to serve, cover with aluminum foil that has been sprayed with cooking oil so that the cheese won't stick to it and then bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 to 30 minutes until bubbly and hot, taking off the foil for the last 5 minutes so that the top will brown. If the dishes are being dropped off early to be heated later on, simply cover with the sprayed aluminum foil and they're ready to go.
- Place both tins side by side on a large cookie sheet for easy transport and head out the door.