Sunday, March 04, 2007

Pasta and Veggies. What Could Be Better?

How About Baked Pasta and Veggies?

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.


Anonymous said...

If you like pasta and veggie this is the dish for you,delicious Bambola.

Anonymous said...

If you like pasta and veggie this is the dish for you,delicious Bambola.