This dish was easy for me to make because I make roasted vegetables every week. In fact, I'm always looking for ways to use up the leftovers. I usually use them in frittatas, calzones and in pasta. But I have never used them in a baked pasta dish. Thanks to my friend Giada DiLaurentiis, now I have, only with my own spin.
Baked Ziti with Roasted Vegetables
Adapted from recipe by Giada DiLaurentiis
1/2 (1 lb) bag baby carrots, halved lengthwise
1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch rounds
1 large broccoli crown, cut into florets
1/4 to 1/2 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed and cut in half
1 ( 6 ounce) can black olives
1/2 ( 5.75 ounce) jar manzanilla olives, rinsed
1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, quartered, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 tablespoon dried Italian herb mix or herbs de Provence
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound penne pasta
3 cups marinara sauce (store bought or homemade)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated scamorza or smoked mozzarella
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/3 cup for topping
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Steam the carrots and green beans until crisp tender, about 8 minutes. (If you don't have a steamer, microwave on high, covered, for about 6 minutes). Steam broccoli for about 4-5 minutes. (Microwave about 3 minutes). You can skip the steaming step if you prefer crisp veggies. On a baking sheet covered with foil, toss all the veggies with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, garlic powder and dried herbs. Roast until tender, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for about 6 minutes. Since you will be cooking the pasta a second time in the oven, you want to make sure the inside is still hard. Drain in a colander.
In a large bowl, toss the drained pasta with the roasted vegetables, marinara sauce, cheeses, peas, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Using a wooden spoon, gently mix, until all the pasta is coated with the sauce and the ingredients are combined.
Pour the pasta into a greased 9 by 13-inch pan. Top with the remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan and butter pieces. Bake until top is golden and cheese melts, about 25 minutes.
I actually filled 2 separate baking dishes and froze one (before baking) for future use. I love finding prepared dinners in my freezer when I don't have time to cook.