My attempt at a regional favorite

We’ve recently hit that point where it seems like I cook the same things over and over, and while delicious, we just had it the week before. We live in the St. Louis area, famous for The Hill – an Italian cropping of restaurants and culture which expands beyond the actual neighborhood bounds. This influence is evident at every office catered luncheon, graduation party, wedding reception, etc. How? One word. Mostacholli.

Mosta-what? Not matriculating from this region, I had no clue when I moved here what this dish was. I’ll be honest, I’ve never actually eaten it at an event, but I’ve always taken notice. However, since all of my children DO live, and come from, the STL Metro area, I decided it was high time to add Mostacholli to our family menu. It was a raging success, though my husband told me later that my mostacholli was a little extravegant compared to what most people serve. I asked what most people do and he said basically they open some Ragu, pour it over cooked penne pasta and then bake.

1 box Penne Pasta
6-8 oz ricota cheese
8 oz mozzerella cheese
1 cup parmesan cheese
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
2 6 oz cans tomato paste
1 TBS Italian seasoning + some to sprinkle
1 cup water
1.5 lbs ground beef
1 medium yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
salt & pepper to taste

1. Bring 6-8 cups water to a boil. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Brown ground beef, adding onions and garlic when beef is getting close to done. Drain and set aside. Drop pasta into water and cook until al dente.
3. In large saucepan, add tomatoes, water, tomato paste, and italian seasoning to ground beef mixture. Bring to a boil and reduce to desired consistancy.
4. Grease a 9×13 pan.
5. Add pasta into sauce, stir. Scoop 1/2 into 9×13. Cover with 1/2 of the cheeses divided. Add remaining pasta, smooth, then layer with cheese, sprinkle top with Italian seasoning.
6. Cover with foil (spray side facing food with Pam). Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove foil. Bake an additional 10-15 minutes.
7. Serve with garlic bread 🙂

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