Can I admit I punted on this one? My big plan for Comfort Food month was set back in August. I was going to do MY best comfort food, potatoes, and then one from my neighborhood — I was going to learn to make ramen. There is a line of gluten-free ramen noodles that I quite like, made from different types of rice. I got a book on the history of ramen, and a cookbook. I can highly recommend both. But what I learned is that those lines outside restaurants making authentic ramen are well-deserved. Ramen is a complicated (if worthwhile) process, with a soup base that must be made before preparing a broth that then becomes soup to which you add noodles and toppings. Definitely try it — with all the variations, it’s likely you’ll find some that suit your allergies. But it was not my next recipe.
So ANYWAY, that’s why Jack made this recipe. And from here on out, it’s all him. As a note, this is why we use #allergyfriendly instead of “allergy-free” on the blog — this recipe uses boxed gluten-free penne pasta and commercial vegan cheese (and we tend to use a jarred sauce), so it is likely not suitable for some allergies (corn). But if it works for you, it’s a great Sunday meal that also makes Monday’s lunch. We probably eat this recipe at least once a month, and while pasta is Jack’s comfort food, I definitely see the appeal. –MaryKate
Hi there! I’m Jack, and I live with MaryKate, so I feed her from time to time. This pasta bake has emerged as one of her favorite comfort foods – which is lucky for me, because it’s one of the few dishes I can make without checking every step of a recipe twelve times. (According to her, I declared on our first date that “I don’t cook”, which I don’t really remember but would have been reasonably accurate at the time as a statement of bare fact, if not general philosophy or intent.) (He said that. I was there. — MK)
The pasta bake began as a gluten- and lactose-filled attempt at baked ziti. It has made the transition to allergy-friendly status quite well, thanks mostly to the pasta and cheese alternatives on the market, and also thanks to MaryKate’s suggestions of what else to add. Feel free to omit veggies and/or meat, and use the sauce, pasta, and cheese brands of your choice. We’ve even mixed in some almond ricotta from Artisan Vegan Cheese by Miyoko Schinner for a creamier, lasagna-like texture.