Friday, November 8, 2013

Baked Veggie-full Pasta, with a side of bacon of course

This dish is a weeknight wonder. The prep is pretty easy, the dish lends itself to yummy leftovers and you can use whatever veggies you have on hand. Feel free to play around with it. I like mine spicy but you can adjust that as you want and if you prefer to use jarred sauce instead of canned tomatoes, go for it. And while only crazy people don't eat bacon, if you want to go full veggie, just omit the bacon.

Baked Veggie Pasta (Weeknight dinners)
a girl and her kitchen

10 mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
2-3 slices bacon, chopped (optional)
1 eggplant (medium), diced
1 bunch of kale (or less), rinsed, stems removed and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes
1 c greek yogurt (nonfat is ok, could replace with nonfat ricotta if you want)
3 c low fat mozz (or more if you like)
1/3 c chicken stock (low sodium)
1 tsp red pepper flakes (less if you want less heat)
1 tsp herbs de provence
1/2 tsp oregano
Salt and pepper
1 box penne or rigatoni or other shape pasta you like (I used whole wheat)
Olive oil

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta till just shy of al dente, maybe 1 minute less than the box instructions (it will finish cooking in oven).

Preheat oven to 350

In a large nonstick sauté pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring not very often (leave them alone, they need to brown J!) for 5-8 minutes. (While mushrooms are cooking, dice carrot, onion and celery and chop kale). When they are browning a bit on both sides add a sprinkle of salt and pepper, cook another minute or so and then toss them into a baking dish (anything in the 9x13 range will work).

In the same pan, add another 1-2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat, add the onion, carrot and celery, herbs de provence and red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to combine and sauté until vegetables are tender (~6 mins). While the veg is cooking, chop eggplant and garlic set aside, then chop bacon.  Add tomato paste, 1 can crushed tomatoes and the kale. Bring to gentle simmer and let cook until the kale has wilted (4 minutes). Add to the baking dish with the mushrooms.

Add the bacon to the pan and cook until brown (8 mins). Add bacon to baking dish, leaving bacon grease in the pan. Add the eggplant and garlic to the bacon fat with a pinch of salt and pepper. Let sauté over medium heat for 4 mins. Add the diced tomatoes and let simmer another 5 minutes until eggplant is tender. Add to baking dish.

When pasta is done cooking, add strained pasta to baking dish and toss to combine. Add chicken stock and yogurt and mix well. Taste for seasoning adding more stock, salt, pepper or yogurt as needed. Top with mozzarella cheese and drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil over top to keep it moist.  You can save the dish covered in the frig at this point for up to day and bring to room temp before baking off.

Cook at 350 uncovered for 30-35 mins until cheese is melted and slightly brown.

Enjoy with crunch green side salad.

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