Thursday, 16 July 2009

Baked Pasta with Roasted Vegetables

Have you ever based a dish on one ingredient that you have on hand and then realize half way through making it that you don't have that one ingredient? When we made the switch to whole grain pastas, I bought every shape and size. Seriously, there is a lot of pasta in my pantry.
So when my friend Joanne invited everyone to a pasta party, I immediately thumbed through my copy of Giada De Laurentiis's Everyday Pasta. I found Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables. Perfect. We had penne and lots of summer veggies, plus the all-important cheese.
I opened up a bottle of wine, for the chef, I was making Italian food after all, and got to work. When I went to get the pasta... no penne! How on earth do I have every shape of pasta known to man but no penne? No problem, I am very agreeable and adaptable (when I drink wine), so I used bowties.

I have taken my friend Deb's advice to heart - never over-cook whole grain pasta. Even slightly undercooked is good, especially if you are going to bake it after.

How did it turn out? Wonderfully. This pasta was so tasty, and makes lots of good leftovers for lunches. And the bowties? Even better than penne would have been, I think.

Baked Penne Bowties with Roasted Vegetables
Giada De Laurentiis, Everyday Pasta

2 red peppers, cored and cut into 1-inch wide strips
2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 summer squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 cremini mushrooms, halved
1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced into 1-inch strips
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 pound penne pasta
3 cups marinara sauce (store bought or homemade)
1 cup grated fontina cheese
1/2 cup grated smoked mozzarella
1 1/2 cups 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.
On a baking sheet, toss the peppers, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and onions with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 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.

Baked Pasta with Roasted Vegetables for Presto Pasta Nights with Joanne of Eats Well with Others.