Right now many of you are thinking of graduation or end-of-school parties. Generally, that means making a big pot, or casserole, of something really tasty and easy to make. Preferably something not too expensive and that it can be made ahead of time.
This pasta recipe meets all those expectations. With 3 pounds of ground beef and pasta, you can make two big casseroles or 16 main dish servings.
A well-flavored meat and tomato sauce is mixed with cooked pasta. The recipe calls for vermicelli and that’s what I used. Vermicelli is skinnier then spaghetti and bigger than angel hair. I did break the pasta strands in half as I put them in the boiling water, just because that made it easier to serve and eat. Freshly grated Parmesan cheese is sprinkled over the entrée when it’s served.
The recipe called for two pounds of vermicelli and I cooked the two pounds but I only used about 1½ pounds. That was too much vermicelli for the amount of sauce I had. I refrigerated the leftover pasta and served it for another meal. You may have to gauge that for yourself.
The casserole is best if made up a day or two ahead of time. It’s a recipe that can be halved if you want to make less. With this kind of casserole, you have leeway for adding your own touches. I sometimes add black or pimento-stuffed olives to this recipe.
Corinne Cook is a columnist for The Advocate. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.