Italian Pasta Bake

MozzarellaItalian Pasta Bake | Life Healthfully Lived that isn’t really mozzarella.  Confusing I know, but totally awesome.  There are tons of recipes out there for fake cheese as well as plenty of products that you can buy.  My issue with store bought “cheese” is that it’s usually full of ingredients that I would rather not ingest.

I’ve made cheese sauce before for my Fusilli N’ Cheeze, but I wanted to make a cheese that was a little thicker.  My goal?  To try and recreate the mostaccioli that Adam made for me when we first started dating.Italian Pasta Bake | Life Healthfully Lived

About a month or so into our relationship, Adam decided he was going to cook for me.  He made me his mom’s mostaccioli and it was delicious.  It was super simple, but watching him make that meal for me was one of the first times that I started to fall in love with him.  When I stopped eating gluten and dairy, mostaccioli kind of went out the window. But not anymore!

Don’t be freaked out by making “cheese” that isn’t really cheese.  It isn’t difficult and there really aren’t any weird ingredients unless you think tapioca starch is weird. It isn’t.  It’s just a thickener and helps make this cheese stretchy.  You could also use potato starch, but I like tapioca better.  Once you make the cheese, this is a really fast meal and a great one to prep early and pull out for a quick weeknight meal.

Not-Mozzarella, Mozzarella Italian Pasta Bake | Life Healthfully Lived

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in warm water overnight
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp roasted garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tbsp tapioca starch (or potato starch)
  • 1 cup hot water
  1. Add everything to a blender and blend for 2 to 3 minutes until it is completely smooth.
  2. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat.  Cook while constantly stirring.  After a few minutes, the mixture will start to thicken.
  3. Turn the heat to low and keep stirring it until it is very thick and stretchy.  You can use it right away or keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.

Italian Pasta BakeItalian Pasta Bake | Life Healthfully Lived

  • 1 batch of Not-Mozzarella, Mozzarella
  • 1 batch of my tomato sauce
  • 1 package of gluten-free pasta, I used brown rice shells
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Cook your pasta according to the directions on the package.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Get a 9 x 13 casserole dish and spoon a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom.  Next, put a layer of pasta and then top with tomato sauce.  Spread some of the cheese on top of that.
  3. Keep layering the pasta, sauce, and cheese until it’s gone.  Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and take off the foil.  Cook for another 5 minutes until the cheese on top is starting to brown on the edges.
  5. Take out of the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes before you serve it.Italian Pasta Bake | Life Healthfully Lived

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