This casserole is perfect for your busy week when getting in and out of the kitchen needs to be a snap. With very simple prep work, it will become a weeknight staple in your household.
Serves 6 (serving size: 1-1/2 cups) Total time: 45 Minutes
2 small onions, peeled and quartered
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 pound extra-lean ground sirloin
3 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock
6 tablespoons sliced fresh basil, divided
2 tablespoons unsalted tomato paste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
12 ounces uncooked whole-wheat chiocciole or rigatoni (such as Bionaturae)
1 (26.46-ounce) carton strained tomatoes (such as Pomì)
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)
1. Place onions in a food processor; pulse until finely chopped. Add carrots; pulse until finely chopped.
2. Preheat oven to 350°.
3. Heat a large high-sided sauté pan over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion mixture; cook 4 minutes. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes. Add Italian seasoning, red pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add beef; cook 5 minutes. Stir in stock, 4 tablespoons basil, tomato paste, vinegar, pasta, and tomatoes. Bring mixture to a boil; cook 13 minutes or until pasta is almost done, stirring frequently. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.
4. Arrange mozzarella over pasta mixture. Sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano; bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until pasta is done. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons basil.