The weather is getting cooler and cooler and in this weather one craves for hot piping food. And what if that food is deliciously melting cheese loaded with vegetables and pasta served straight from the oven. Yes I know you are drooling , so am I. I love pasta and I can say that cheesy hot pasta is one of my comfort foods. I like it in tangy tangy tomato gravy loaded with vegetables. This time I went one step ahead in making my same pasta but finishing it up in the oven and making this yummy Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake.
So if you are a vegetable lover like me, then look no further. This Pasta is loaded with different vegetables one might not even think off. I many a times call it my fridge cleaning or leftover vegetables dish. I have never seen cauliflower in pasta or at least I have not eaten pasta with cauliflower. Still I dared to add this in my pasta as I just had a few florets remaining and I had to finish them off. Other than cauliflower I added Zucchini, carrots , mushrooms and capsicum (Red pepper) to my Cheesy Vegetable Pasta bake. One can add any combination of vegetable one likes.
Rest the procedure of cooking this pasta is similar except that you boil or cook the pasta a bit less by 3-4 minutes. If you cook it completely it will go mushy in the oven and it won’t taste good. I have used Conchiglie (shell pasta) for this but you can use any type of pasta.
So here goes the recipe:
Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake
- 3 Cups of Pasta
- 1.5 ltr or enough water for cooking pasta
- 1 1/4 Cup of Pasta Sauce
- 2 Cups of Vegetables of your choice (I used Cauliflower, Zucchini, Mushroom, Capsicum, Carrot)
- 1/2 Cup Cheddar Cheese
- 8-9 Fresh Basil leaves torn into pieces (1/2 tsp Dried Basil)
- 1/2 tsp Dried Oregano (or few leaves of fresh Oregano torn)
- 1 tsp Freshly grounded Black Pepper (as per taste)
- Salt as per taste
- 1/2 Cup Mozzarella Cheese
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1/2 Cup Chopped Onion
- 2-3 Cloves of Garlic grated or chopped
- 1/2 Inch ginger grated or chopped
- Boil the pasta as per the package instructions in enough water. Do cook the pasta a bit less. If the pack says 10 mins, cook it for 7 mins.
- Once done drain and keep aside.
- In the meantime, In a wok, add in the Olive Oil.
- Once hot, add the Onion, garlic and ginger. Saute on medium high for 2-3 minutes.
- Once it starts to go a bit translucent, add the vegetables in the order of cooking time. i.e. the vegetables that take longer to cook will be the first to go.
- So for me it was Cauliflower, Carrots and then Zucchini. After 2-3 minutes, I added Mushroom and peppers.
- Add in 1 Cup of tomato sauce, basil, oregano, black pepper, salt and give everything a quick mix. Let it cook for 3-4 mins.
- Add in the pasta and the 1/4 Cup cheddar cheese.
- Mix everything and let it cook again for 3-4 mins.
- In a wide baking dish, add in the remaining 1/4 cup of tomato sauce and spread it uniformly.
- Add in the pasta and vegetable mixture.
- Bake this in a preheated oven at 180 Deg C for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, remove and sprinkle remaining cheddar cheese and grated mozarella on top.
- Bake it again for 10-15 minutes, until the pasta is done.
- For the last 2-3 minutes I broil it so that the top gets a lovely golden colour.
- Serve it hot with some bread. I served this with Four Leaf Clover Good Luck Rolls.
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