Layered Lamb Pasta

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Pasta. Pasta. Pasta.

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Pasta is a mainstay in our household. Both my hubby and T are big fans of pasta. I like pasta because there are so many varieties and it is so easy to create different dishes every night if you really love pasta. Bow tie, angel hair, rotellini or shells. The list goes on and on.

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I have found that whenever I am really desperate to come up with an idea for dinner I reach for a pasta recipe. As soon as I say we are having pasta both my hubby and son are on board and dig in not matter how I fix it. A basic meat sauce with ground turkey is the quickest way for me to get dinner on the table. However, if I can really take my time to prepare the dish, I will shoot for something with a little more heft and better presentation. No offense to spaghetti and sauce but a nice layered pasta dish is a little more exciting.

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Think of this as another way to make lasagna without having to cook lasagna noodles, simmer sauce for hours and then take a long time to assemble the dish. Layered lamb pasta has only two layers of pasta with lamb sauce, a few veggies and cheese. What could be simpler besides going out to dinner?

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For my meatless friends, you can easily turn this into a vegetarian dish by leaving out the lamb. Just load up on more sauteed spinach or other veggies to layer in the pasta.

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Layered Lamb Pasta

1 lb ground lamb
3 cups small pasta shells
2 bags baby leaf spinach
1 small yellow pepper sliced
1 small green pepper sliced
1 small red pepper sliced
8 oz ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 ½ jars spaghetti sauce
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp water
cooking spray

1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp thyme
½ tsp cayenne
1 tbsp fresh basil chopped
1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare pasta according to package and set aside.

In a large frying pan brown lamb. Drain fat from lamb and place lamb in a large bowl. Add pasta, sauce and seasonings. Stir to mix and coat pasta. Add butter and water to frying pan along with spinach and peppers. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir occasionally until the spinach is wilted and the peppers are soft.

Spray large casserole dish with cooking spray. Spread ½ of the pasta and lamb mixture in the casserole dish. Layer the vegetables over the pasta and dot with the ricotta cheese. Sprinkle with ½ of the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Layer with the remaining pasta and top with remaining cheese.

Bake for approximately 25 to 30 minutes until cheese is melted and pasta is heated through.





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