Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Cheddar-Baked Vegetarian Pasta

If the sound of vegetarian pasta doesn’t thrill your kids—or you, for that matter—just add cheese. Cheddar, that is. While this humble cheese may not make its way into authentic Italian fare, nothing says you can’t enjoy its golden gooey goodness in a scrumptious pasta dish loaded with fresh veggies.

It’s simple, easy, and deliciously cheesy. And did we mention loaded with vegetables?

Serves 4

  • 7 oz rotini
  • olive oil for oiling dish, plus 2 tbsp
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 small zucchinis, chopped
  • 8 oz button or crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes, drained, reserving 1/2 cup juice
  • 3 oz snow peas, trimmed and cut diagonally in half
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly oil an 11 x 7-inch baking dish.
  2. Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water 8-9 minutes. Drain.
  3. Heat a large, deep skillet over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons oil. Add the garlic and onions and cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes. Add the zucchini and mushrooms and cook until beginning to soften, 5-6 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes, reserved juice, and snow peas, crushing the tomatoes in your fingers, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a light simmer and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, 9-10 minutes.
  5. Add the drained pasta to the pan, tossing well to combine. 

Garlic and Onion

Mushrooms and Zucchini Added

Tomato Mixture Added

Pasta Stirred In
  1. Spoon half the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheddar cheese. Spoon the remaining half of the pasta mixture in the dish and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheddar and the parmesan.
  2. Bake uncovered until the cheeses have melted and the top begins to brown, 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest 5 minutes.

1st Layer with Cheese

Ready to Bake

Baked Pasta
Divide among 4 pasta bowls and serve right away.

Cheddar-Baked Vegetarian Pasta

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