I don’t know about other parts of the country, but April generally brings a LOT of showers for Illinois. This past Saturday it poured from the time I woke up until the time I went to bed. This kind of weather leaves me craving comfort food.
We are also mid laundry room renovation at our house and Nick and his dad were working on replacing the drywall that had seen some water damage over the years. I knew they were going to need a good lunch.
Enter my Ranch Pesto Pasta Bake. I made this for the first time years ago and it has always been a big hit. We as 3 adults completely devoured the entire pan of this but generally if you pair with a side dish and some garlic bread this could feed 4-6 adults. I didn’t make any side dishes. I wasn’t feeling that motivated.
I hate blog posts that contain recipes that make you wade through a super long story just to get to the recipe so here is the recipe and further down you will find some pictures I took as I cooked as well as some tips and notes!
Ranch Pesto Pasta Bake Recipe
16 oz pasta of choice (I used penne – rigatoni would also be a great option)
1/2 cup Ranch dressing (I used buttermilk Ranch – much creamier!)
1/4 cup Pesto
14.5 oz. diced tomatoes – drained/slightly rinsed (You can use more tomatoes if you prefer – I always go light on tomatoes in my dishes)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1. Cook and drain pasta, return to pot
2. Stir in ranch dressing, pesto, diced tomatoes and one cup shredded mozzarella
3. Transfer to 2 quart baking dish
4. Top with remaining shredded mozzarella
5. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes
6. Remove foil and bake an additional 5 minutes until cheese is melted.
I use a glass baking dish for this and it comes out perfectly! And cleans up well too. Above is my pasta bake in varying forms of done-ness (is that a word?)
Note: if you don’t have pesto on hand you can leave it out of the recipe and it is still good but the pesto just adds such an amazing flavor that I say definitely add it if you have it!
What are your favorite rainy day comfort foods? I’m always looking for new recipes to try!