Baked Pasta with Pork and Mushrooms ~ Pan seared seasoned thick-cut pork chops, hearty tomato sauce, and tube pasta baked topped with sautéed mushrooms.Raise your hand if you’re busy.Raise your hand if at the end of a long day of work (I include being a stay at home parent in this term of work-double points to those who work from home with kids around) and you don’t want to cook and ponder over serving cereal or hitting a drive through.
Raise your hand if you are tired and don’t really want to be raising your hand like I’m asking you to do.
See what I did there?
If you’re a regular TCS reader or of any other food blog, you might think we eat like kings every day. We so don’t. I do eat all the food I post here, well not all the desserts, but I do want to eat all of those.
For any number of reasons, I might not get to eat the food on the day I make it. Maybe my light went away and I have to save photography for the next day. Occasionally, I make something that I am going to use up in another way, like a leftover post. There are those days when I don’t actually make dinner, but a dessert or a cocktail (ok, I will have the cocktail for dinner-or lunch, but I still need some kind of food.)Then there are the bad days, when I do get my photography done before my light is gone, but I don’t like how I styled it, how the pictures came out, or whatever little thing my perfectionist-self might be picking at, and I have to reshoot it the following day.
All of these reasons and myriad of others, sometimes my dinner posts just can’t be dinner. When that happens, the last thing I feel like doing at that moment is making an entirely new creative dinner. That’s where cereal, pizza delivery, and scrambled eggs enter the picture. But pizza gets expensive. I actually can’t eat cereal and Elizabeth is hungry again 20 minutes after eating it. And one can only eat so many scrambled eggs.
When things like this happen, I usually turn to my comfort foods, those foods I love from my childhood. These foods usually take little to no effort. I can multi-task while making them. I can sip on a glass of wine will preparing, with no fear I will miss some crucial step.
Of course I don’t only turn to my comfort foods when a post goes wrong, sometimes I deliberately make them, or at least versions of them. Baked Pasta with Pork and Mushrooms is not a result of a post gone wrong, but the delicious result of busy day turned busy night that deserved a hearty, delicious, home-cooked, comfort food yet quick and easy dinner.
Baked Pasta with Pork and Mushrooms is reminiscent of many of the dinners I enjoyed at my grandmother’s table as a girl. Simple ingredients put together to make something wonderful. With a dish like this, the possibilities are endless. Ragú’s new Homestyle sauces are just that, homestyle; thick, hearty, rich, and vibrant. I’m a self declared sauce queen and I don’t take jarred sauces lightly. When I popped open the Traditional Ragú for this recipe, I was pleased with the thick texture of the sauce. It’s exactly what I wanted. I needed the sauce to cling to both the pasta and the pork.
To cheese or not to cheese was a very real question for me. When in doubt, always cheese. However, I wanted to keep things lighter and sadly, right now I am restricting my daughter’s dairy intake, so no copious and gratuitous cheese pictures today. I simply dusted lightly with finely grated parmesan between layers. If you need cheese, please cheese. Toss in a good cup (or so) of grated mozzarella. I won’t be offended in the slightest and probably will be envious.
Baked Pasta with Pork and Mushrooms
- 3/4 lb tube pasta
- Water to boil pasta
- Salt; for the water
- 4 thick-cut pork chops
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter; divided 2/1
- 8 oz sliced mushrooms
- Salt/pepper; to taste
- 1-23 oz jar Ragu Homestyle Sauce (Thick and Hearty Traditional)
- 1/8 cup finely grated Parmesan Cheese +/- to taste; divided
Pre-heat the oven to 350°
Bring a large pot of water to boil.
Mix the salt, pepper, granulated garlic, and basil together and liberally apply to both sides of the pork chops; set aside.
In a large skillet/frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat.
Add the mushrooms to the pan, let cook without moving or sitting for 3 minutes.
Flip the mushrooms and allow the reverse side to cook for 3 minutes.
Salt and pepper the mushrooms to taste and stir, continue to cook until completed browned and the begin to shrink in size, another 3-5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
Once the water is boiling, salt generously and return to a boil.
Cook pasta 2 minutes short of package directions.
In the same pan that the mushrooms cooked in, heat to medium.
Once hot, add the butter and olive oil.
Place the meat in the pan, but not touching, sear for 3 minutes, then flip and sear for another 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
Drain the pasta and return to the pan.
Add two kitchen tablespoons of sauce to the pasta, mix in well, taking care that the past is thoroughly coated.
Transfer to a deep baking dish.
Sprinkle half the Parmesan cheese over the pasta in the dish.
Add dollops of sauce over the cheese and pasta.
Place the pork chops on top of the pasta.
Pour the remaining sauce from the jar, coating the both the pork and the pasta. Use the back of spoon to smooth.
Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the sauce.
Cover the sauce with the sautéed mushrooms.
Cover with foil.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the pork is cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 160°.
I was impressed with Ragu’s new line of Homestyle sauces. I picked up two jars. I made this recipe using Traditional, but I grabbed the meat sauce as well. I have a thing for thick meaty sauces and mozzarella sticks…maybe I should make a post on that some day.
You can check out the 5 flavors in Ragu’s new Homestyle line here and by Homestyle, I mean no artificial flavors, no artificial colors and no high fructose corn syrup, plus each sauce is made with vine-ripened tomatoes, onions and fragrant herbs. If you’re looking for recipe ideas on how to use Ragu sauces, you can find some inspiration on their homepage. What recipe stands out to you?