There’s something about moms. They make everything feel better, they always smell like clean laundry or muffins, and somehow their basil plants are always wild and free, producing loads of fresh summer basil (while my potted basil is wilting and eaten by bugs).
My mother-in-law came over yesterday with a plastic Target bag full of basil! I wanted to make a big batch of pesto with it, but it seemed too glorious and seasonal to just casually toss on some GF pasta (although that is a completely viable option).
I decided to make a version of “Million Dollar Pasta Bake” – a traditional baked pasta with spaghetti, meat, and red sauce. But…basically change everything about it LOL.
- It started with boiling some GF Brown Rice Noodles while I sautéed 1 lb. of Jimmy Dean Sausage with 1 diced onion. Blot the fat off of the meat and transfer to a plate with a paper towel. I used the same pot (with a little of the sausage fat left) to sauté sliced Baby Bella Mushrooms with some pink salt.
2. At this point, you can start assembling. I greased the baking dish with avocado oil before adding the noodles. Then top the noodles with the sautéed mushrooms. Add 1/2 of the onion/sausage mixture.
3. For the pesto, add to a food processor: 1-2 bunches basil, 4 cups fresh spinach, 1/2 cup almonds, 3 cloves garlic, 2/3 cup olive oil, 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes (as a substitute for parmesan), S&P to taste.
4. Add the rest of the meat mixture on top of the pesto, drizzle the top with olive oil before putting into the oven at 374 for 20 minutes, until pesto starts to “melt” and meat becomes caramelized.