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The second got mini penne (added raw/dry), red bell pepper, and Zesty Italian sausage, which ended up being a mistake, because it was too chili-hot for me and so the entire casserole was eaten by not-me. Same jar of TJ sauce.

The third got half a pound of gemelli, soaked in cold water while the meat was cooking. Jar of sauce. 2 lb ground beef, cooked and scooped instead of formally drained. Can of olives, crushed. Mix all that together in the 9x13 pan. Added more water so there was liquid at the corners on the level with most of the ingredients, by which I mean, rinse the sauce jar and add that water to the casserole. When done, mix again to distribute the heat and put the crispier bits into the middle. This scooped six portions at 10 oz and a half portion at 4.6 oz and yes, I did that on the scale. The resulting noodles are cooked through, the sauce coats everything but does not drip.
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1 red bell pepper, chopped and sauteed to blacken
1/2 large onion, medium dice, cooked through
4 cloves garlic, crushed and rough-chopped
3/4-ish lb ground beef, cooked on partially-cooked onion, not drained
2/3 lb spaghetti, half-lengths, cooked
1/2 can black olives, broken roughly
1 jar pasta sauce. I use TJ's Tomato Basil Marinara in glass with the green lid.

Stir all that together, after cooking sequentially and transferring to a mixing bowl.

Top with 1/4 lb cheese, grated. Bake 350F/30 min until the cheese is toasty.

Thoughts: We ate it, liked it, but it was rather squidgy and sweet. A slice of garlic bread or a garlic breadstick would have helped a lot. Ditto some green salad.

Use small unit pasta, mixed in uncooked, instead of fully cooked linear pasta. We currently own mini-penne. Keep the red bell pepper raw. Cooking didn't add anything helpful. Add a green bell pepper, but do cook that. Add WAY more garlic. Cook the onion less in the pan. If it weren't for us, a few sauteed mushrooms would be quite nice. Chunks of par-cooked Asian eggplant would be nice too. Consider using Italian Sausage instead of ground beef for More Flavor.


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