Pasta has never been a big staple in my house; we tend to eat more leafy greens, proteins, and fresh fruits and vegetables. If we ever did have pasta it was combined with a salad or maybe turkey or beef meatballs. The other night I wanted to make a baked pasta casserole thingy because Carolyn made one last week and it looked absolutely delicious (it was tasty too!). She followed a recipe when she made it, but I decided to wing it and only use a recipe to tell me what temperature and how long to cook the pasta for.
I chose to use eggplant, zucchini, spinach and cherry tomatoes in my baked pasta. Roasted zucchini and eggplant pair perfectly with pasta, plus, they are two of my favorite vegetables (: I also like cooked cherry tomatoes. It might seem gross, but when they are cooked all the juices come out and flavor the rest of the dish and that’s why I like them. If I had more time to cook this dish I would have made my own pasta sauce, but I didn’t have the ingredients nor the patience so I save that challenge for another time.
Instead of using regular gluten-free pasta, I chose brown rice pasta. It is slightly healthier than regular gluten-free pasta and I think it has a great flavor. Rotini worked really well for this recipe, but if you don’t have any, you can use macaroni noodles, bow-tie pasta or penne. You want to pick pasta that has thick noodles, spaghetti wouldn’t work too well since its super stringy and long.
This recipe makes enough for 6-8 people.
- 3 cups brown rice rotini
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 medium zucchini, cut into bite size cubes
- 1 eggplant, cut into bite size cubes
- 1/2 red pepper, cut into bite size pieces
- 2 cups spinach
- 10 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 cup chopped broccoli
- 2 cups pasta sauce of your choice
- 1/2- 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese
1) Preheat oven to 400F and chop all the vegetables. Toss the chopped vegetables (not including spinach) in a bowl with a little olive oil and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Shake the pan a few times while the veggies are cooking to make sure they don’t burn.
2) Bring a quart or two of water to a boil and cook the brown rice pasta for 7-8 minutes (al dente). Strain and set aside.
3) In a sauce pan sauté spinach. Transfer spinach to a large bowl and add the roasted vegetables, garlic and pasta. Add 2 cups of garlic and basil pasta sauce and stir until the pasta is all coated.
4) Transfer half of the pasta mix into a casserole dish and sprinkle with half of the mozzarella cheese. Top with the other half of the pasta and mozzarella cheese. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
We had a lot of leftovers, so I covered it with some press n’ seal and stored it in the fridge. I had it for lunch today and it was still super delicious!