Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Pasta on Wednesday?

As you know the usual “pasta day” around here is Sunday. Since I am not a big fan of the noodles I don’t usually make it on weekdays, but pasta is my boys favorite food, so over the weekend we always have some sort of macaroni around.
However, I saw a pasta dish on a TV show the other day that looked amazingly good, with lots of vegetables and some interesting cheeses, smoked mozzarella being one of those.
The husband was working from home today, so the dish seemed appropriate, as I could get a one-dish meal with all of our favorite flavors in it. And it was a hit!
We liked the Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables a lot! The dish is chock full of yummy roasted veggies (my favorite!!), marinara sauce and three kinds of cheese. I loved the flavors of the vegetables, the combination of roasted squashes, red pepper, onions and mushrooms was just perfect, I could have had just that for my lunch! Hehe!
The marinara sauce added body, and even the peas were delicious, but the smoked mozzarella definitely lends the most flavor to the dish. We could taste it in every bite, not in an overpowering way, but in a very delicious and tasty way, it sort of flavored the tomato sauce. We all agreed it was a very nice dish with the smoked mozzarella flavor, which is something we don’t eat very often.
I made half-recipe and served it with sautéed chicken breasts (carnivores here…otherwise it would have been a nice vegetarian meal). Also, I used white cheddar in place of the fontina (did not find it), and forgot to dot the top with butter. For the first 15 minutes I baked it with foil on top, then removed it for the final 10 minutes of baking (just in case, I didn’t want the top to get dry)
Now I have to find some other dish with smoked mozzarella, to use up what I have left. Any suggestions?!

Baked Penne With Roasted Vegetables
(Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis)

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
Yield: 6 servings


Valentina said...

I've made baked pasta with roasted veggies before but never with smoked mozarelly as the cheese choise. I shall look it up with such great recommendation.

Karen said...

Looks soooooo delicious!

Ana said...

Valentina, this was very yummy, we all liked it and kept comenting through our the day about the nice flavors of the smoked cheese!!
Karen, it was delicious, and very good for you, full of yummy veggies in there! Try it!