This was the happy result of some epic I-refuse-to-leave-my-apartment laziness, a strong desire for something cheesy and a recipe last week that called for a whopping four leaves of basil – leaving me with a ton left that I didn’t want to waste. (Why DO they sell basil and cilantro in such huge bunches anyway? Who can possibly eat that much basil if you’re not making pesto? And what on earth do you do with a pile of mountain of cilantro in any circumstance? I digress…)
After throwing some things together and eating two gigantic helpings, I officially declared the comfort food craving satisfied and fell into a carb-induced sleep.
Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta Bake
Creamy Basil Sauce:
- Handful of fresh basil, chopped
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 Tb olive oil
- 3/4 C cream cheese (I used reduced fat)
- 1/4 C milk
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 tsp salt
Saute the basil and garlic in olive oil over low medium heat for a few minutes – this will flavor the olive oil and make the basil a little bit crispy!
Add in cream cheese, milk, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir or whisk vigorously until the sauce is totally combined and smooth.
- 1 C tomatoes, chopped
- 3 C of your favorite pasta, cooked al dente
- 1/2 C bread crumbs
- Olive oil for drizzling
Spray an 8×8 baking dish with canola or olive oil to prevent sticking.
In a large bowl, mix together chopped tomatoes, cooked pasta and basil cream sauce from above recipe.
Add pasta mixture to prepared baking dish, then sprinkle bread crumbs over the top. Drizzle olive oil liberally over the top to make sure the crumbs get extra crunchy!
Bake for 30 minutes or until bread crumbs are a golden brown.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes (if you can) then serve and enjoy!