Curiosity Inspired the Meal

Surprising nearly no one, I plan my meals ahead of time. So the other day when my youngster asked me what linguine was after reading the word in a homework assignment, I looked over my meal plan and noticed I had a spaghetti dinner day coming up. I told her I could use linguine instead and show her. After getting pint-sized approval, I decided it might be fun to mix things up a bit more than that and, before we knew it, this was resting on the stove waiting to be dished out onto your plates:

Given that I'm a fan of having garlic bread with my spaghetti dinners, I thought that it might be fun to replace spaghetti with linguine, add garlic bread roll dough to the top of the skillet, and bake everything together. After all, with everyone being busy, a one-pan weeknight meal might be just about ideal. And besides, it was fun to be able to talk about why a hot skillet beneath the bread dough did such a good job of making the rolls rise into giant, fluffy garlic bread rolls for sopping up the sauce:

Now, I bet you already realize that linguine is not key to this recipe. Feel free to use whatever pasta shape you prefer for this dish. In theory, you could also make the bread roll dough by hand, but part of the appeal of this dish is letting the bread machine work for you to make what seems like a fussy dish into something that fits beautifully into a busy week and rewards the curiosity of a little girl!

Baked Linguine with Garlic Bread Rolls

For the bread dough:
  • 1 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/4 c. butter
For the pasta and sauce:
  • 1 lb. dry linguine, cooked al dente
  • 8 oz. lean ground beef
  • 8 oz. Italian pork sausage
  • 1 qt. marinara sauce (choose your favorite variety)
  • 1 c. grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Using the dough setting of a bread machine, place all of the bread dough ingredients in the pan of a bread machine and press START. The cycle should take about an hour and a half. Feel free to do other things while the dough cycle runs. When the cycle is finished, remove the bread dough and separate it in half 3 times. This should leave you with 8 portions of dough. On a lightly, floured surface, roll each portion of dough into a sphere. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400° F. While the pasta is cooking, brown the ground beef and pork sausage over medium-high heat in a large, ovenproof skillet. Add the marinara sauce and heat until just simmering. When the pasta is ready, carefully remove it with tongs from the hot water and place it in the skillet with the sauce. Don't worry if some of the hot water ends up in the sauce. When all of the pasta is in the sauce, stir gently to combine. Sprinkle the grated mozzarella cheese over the linguine mixture.

Take each sphere of bread dough and, holding it on either side, give it a gentle twist to form an elongated roll. Carefully place 7 of the rolls around the edges of the skillet and the final roll, untwisted, in the center of the skillet. Sprinkle the top of the rolls with the grated Parmesan cheese.

Bake the skillet in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until the rolls are baked and golden on top. Allow the skillet to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

  • Yields: 4-6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour plus rising time for dough

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