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Recipe: Baked Pasta with Summer Veggies

There is just something so delicious about roasted vegetables especially when they are in season. Roasting brings out the natural sweetness in vegetables and intensifies the flavors without adding a lot of fat and calories---can't beat that! In fact, I love roasted vegetables so much that not even the three-digit Texas heat can prevent me from cranking up my oven just to have a taste of this yummyness.


This recipe is so easy to prepare and is very versatile when it comes to the ingredients. I actually substituted the red bell pepper with eggplant. I also opted to use panko bread crumbs instead of regular bread crumbs for the added crunch.

Adapted from Parenting Magazine July 2009

Serves 8

Ingredients:
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 eggplant, sliced
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb ziti pasta
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmesan, plus 1/2 cup
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, cubed
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425F. Place a large pot of salted water over medium-high heat.

Place onion, garlic, zucchini and eggplant on a baking sheet and coat the vegetables with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and bake until caramelized, about 20 minutes and tossing in between.

While vegetables are roasting, add pasta to water and cook 2 minutes short of package directions. Drain.

In a large bowl, combine ricotta, 1/4 cup parmesan and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper. Gently add pasta, vegetables, tomatoes, oregano and mozzarella and mix well. Pour into a baking dish. (Time saver: you can stop here and refrigerate for up to a day ahead.)

Sprinkle top with 1/2 cup parmesan and bread crumbs. Bake, uncovered, until light browned and bubbling, about 20 minutes.


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