|August 21, 2011||Filled under Casserole, Main Dish, Make Ahead, Pasta, Vegetables|
Being a busy mom I am always trying new recipes to make dinner quick, easy and ready to feed hungry tummies when I get home from work. Harvest Ziti is a vegetarian winner in all those categories. I used roasted eggplant, zucchini and onion in the version pictured here but this recipe really lends itself to the current season’s harvest. Hence the name. Roasting the veggies before adding them to the pasta is an extra step but it ensures the flavors come through the pasta and cheese. In true Lunch-Wagon tradition, this meal can be prepared ahead of time, placed in the refrigerator for up to three days or frozen for up to three months, and baked to gooey goodness just before eating. This recipe makes one 9 inch square pan but can easily be doubled. I made one for my family and one for a friend who is a very picky eater. (I have set my sites on introducing her to new, easy, healthy dinners.) All the prep can be done on the weekend leaving only 40 minutes of baking time to the dinner table. Ensuring the veggies are all about the same size makes roasting them a success. Size is important to cook time so no matter how small or large you prefer them be consistent.
- 1/2 lb fresh Ziti (half of box)
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 2 medium zucchini, chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 2 medium eggplant, chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 1/2 large, sweet onion, chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning, divided
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- dash red pepper flakes
- 1 cup red pasta sauce
Putting It All Together:
- Cook Ziti until soft firm; drain and set aside. (If you see the pasta is sticking together as it cools, lightly spray a small amount of Pam or other cooking spray and mix through.)
- In a small mixing bowl combine 1 tbs oil, Kosher salt and Italian seasoning.
- Place onion, eggplant and zucchini in bowl and toss to coat.
- Arrange veggies on a large roasting pan (no need to grease pan) in a single layer with veggies 1/2 an inch apart.
- Broil until tender; approx 8 minutes per side.
- Remove veggies and allow to cool 5 minutes; chop to smaller pieces if desired.
- In a large Dutch oven over low heat, cook garlic in remaining oil for 3 minutes.
- Add pasta, sauce, veggies, red pepper flakes and cheese (reserving a little cheese to sprinkle on top).
- Toss to coat and heat until cheese is a little melty.
- Transfer to baking dish coated with cooking spray.
- ** Cover and bake 30 minutes @ 350; uncover and bake 15 more minutes.
To Prepare Ahead: Prepare through step 10. Allow to cool in baking dish then wrap with heavy duty foil two times if freezing up to 3 months and one time if refrigerating up to 3 days.
To Cook After Storing: If frozen; remove to fridge to thaw overnight. For both frozen and refrigerated; place on counter and allow to come to room temperature before cooking; approx 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 and bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake 10 more minutes.