If there is one thing that my husband absolutely cannot stomach, it is cheese. He hates cheese of any kind and prepared in any form, which means that it is impossible to incorporate cheese into our family meals. Thankfully, both my children do not dislike cheese, although the only cheese my daughter will eat is that which is melted on a pizza and in a pasta bake such as this. This is another one of her food-related idiosyncracies that I have learnt not to question because there can never be a satisfactory answer where there is no logic to begin with.
Therefore, on days that my husband is not back home for dinner, I seize the opportunity to either make pizza or try out a recipe for baked pasta that will yield melted, gooey cheese.
The recipe for this pasta al forno, which is basically baked pasta, is by Jamie Oliver and can be found on his website. A simple combination of tomato sauce that is made from scratch (not from a jar, please), good mozzarella (whole milk fresh mozzarella that comes in the shape of a ball) and pasta that is not over-cooked, and everything gets baked in a hot oven until bubbly and gooey. It is a dish that tastes more than the sum of its parts when made with care. Really, it is nothing like a packaged frozen dinner or what you get from the in-flight menu on a long haul flight.
To add a little green to our meal, I served broccolini that I blanched in boiling water and dressed with a little soy sauce and sesame oil as a side.