Dita-Lynnie Bake

Just like our “clean-out-fridge” fritatta is a chance to use up produce and other food items about to expire, I conjured up this baked dish to accomplish a similar mission. You can of course substitute any of the ingredients to suit your own situation, but at least this’ll give you a basis from with to launch your meal plan.

Mine started with a half box of dried ditalini pasta. Ditalini “small thimbles” is a type of pasta that is shaped like small tubes; elbow macaroni would make a decent substitute. I also knew I needed to incorporate an opened package of mozzarella cheese before it turned; and a pound of ground beef ready to expire, but still good. I did make a grocery run for the fresh veggies and herbs (our garden was no where near ready in early Spring).

Then it was just a matter of sautéing things on the stovetop and cooking the pasta to less-than-al-dente before tossing it and some cheese altogether into a casserole dish for a half hour bake in the oven.

Let me know how your “bake” turns out…


Dita-Lynnie Bake

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 8 oz. ditalini, or elbow macaroni
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 2 bell peppers (mixed colors), seeded, deveined and diced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 oz. baby portobellos, sliced and chopped
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 14.5 oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 6 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, more for garnish
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
  • 4 oz. fresh mozzarella, 1/2″ cubes
  • 1/4 cup grated parmagiano
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, and shallots and cook for 4 minutes until softened. Add garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add chopped peppers to skillet and cook another 3-4 minutes until softened.
  4. Stir in mushrooms and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook for 2-3 minutes then move all to a large bowl.
  5. Wipe out skillet if necessary, add 1 Tbsp. more oil and when hot, add the ground meat cooking until thoroughly through. Drain the grease from pan.
  6. Meanwhile cook pasta one minute less than package directions for al dente. Drain thoroughly.
  7. Put the veggie mixture into skillet with meat. Stir in tomato halves, chopped oregano and basil. Next add the fire-roasted tomatoes and tomato paste.
  8. Mix in drained pasta.
  9. Spray a 4-quart casserole dish with cooking spray. Spread half of the mixture into prepared dish, add half of the mozzarella cubes. Repeat with the rest of mixture and mozzarella.
  10. Sprinkle the grated parm over the top and put into heated oven for 30 minutes. remove and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
  11. Serve more grated parm and chopped basil for garnish, if desired.


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