You have decided one of your entrees will be a pasta dish…. Now the question is what will it be. There are a number of options that work well.
Baked Rigatoni with Bechamel Sauce offers a really nice creamy balance from something like Baked Ziti. It also can be prepped ahead and baked while the party is starting… while it is baked at a higher temperature than Baked Ziti… the nice thing about tomato sauce based casseroles… you can up the temperature… you will just have to keep an eye on it and make sure the the cheese on top of the Ziti doesn’t burn… you will probably need to tent a piece of foil over it.
The Baked Rigatoni with Bechamel Sauce recipe that I will post is from the Food Network…it’s fairly plain… but absolutely delicious….other than the cheesy cream sauce it contains only prosciutto.
Another recipe from the Food Network that I will post is Pasta with Creamy-Mushroom- Pea Sauce… while not baked… you can still really prepare this mostly ahead. The pasta can be boiled ahead and then just re-heated… the sauce can be made ahead up until the cream is added. This is a recipe I would definitely consider making for a party.
You can make your own pasta and creamy sauce combinations. I will discuss ways you can create your own pasta dishes in another post.
If you want to cut corners on the cooking… or maybe you aren’t the best at making cream sauces….you could use the “Four Cheese” blend of Knorr sauce. I really like to make my own sauces but I do also use their sauce packets. They are fool-proof and easy and offer a major time-saving alternative… I don’t think you compromise too much in taste… I always top the dishes with freshly grated Parmigianno Reggiano… make the sauce in a sauce pan before your company arrives… and re-heat before serving…no one will be the wiser.
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