I saw this recipe on Kelsey's Apple A Day blog. Every time I cook something "Italian" it is usually plain old pasta or pizza. In an effort to branch out, I though I would try this. I was a little bit skeptical because I don't normally cook with zucchini, so I wasn't sure how it was going to come out.
Baked Whole Wheat Penne with Roasted Vegetables
adapted from Kelsey's Apple a Day, originally from Giada DeLaurentiis
2 red pepper, cored and cut into 1 in wide strips
2 zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1 in segments
6 baby bella mushrooms, halved
1 red onion, peeled and sliced into 1 inch strips
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt, divided
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp dried Italian herb mix
1 lb whole wheat penne pasta
3 c. homemade marinara sauce
1 c part skim mozzarella
1/2 c Pecorino Romano, half reserved for top
Preheat the over to 450 degrees. On a baking sheet, toss the peppers, zucchini, 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 boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for about 6 minutes. Since you will be cooking the pasta a second time, you want to make sure the inside is still hard. Drain.
In a large bowl, toss the drained pasta with the roasted veggies, marinara sauce, cheeses, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Using a wooden spoon, gently mix, until all pasta is coated with the sauce and the ingredients are combined.
Pour the pasta into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Top with the remaining pecorino romano and bake until the top is golden and cheese melts (about 25 minutes).
1. I don't really like mushrooms, so I used asparagus as a substitute.
2. Instead of olive oil, I used olive oil cooking spray. I think it may have worked out better because it was easier to coat the vegetables that way.
3. To make the marinara, I just used a large can of tomato puree, a small can of diced tomatoes, and spices (garlic and onion powder, black pepper, and some sugar).
4. I used Parmesan cheese on the top because that's what I had.
This recipe was really great. It was so simple that I'm thinking of making it for a dinner party we're having in a couple weeks. Maybe I will make two, and add chicken or sausage to one of them for my carnivorous friends! The husband liked it, too, so that's also a plus.
The next time I cook it, I will only put it in the over for about 18-20 minutes. I left it in for the full 25 and the top got a little too crispy.