Vegetable Baked Pasta
EVENT: FOODIES_ REDOING OLD POSTS #45
RECIPE: VEGETABLE BAKED PASTA
Vegetable Baked Pasta
Vegetable Baked Pasta loaded with vegetables,is cheesy, creamy and simply irresistible. It is totally comfort food for my family. In fact I prepare Vegetable Baked Pasta every fortnight. The vegetables vary but the sauces remain the same.
This pasta dish is a version of the traditional Italian dish called PASTA AL FORNO. For Pasta Al Forno pasta is boiled about 3-4 minutes less than instructed on the packet. The pasta is then mixed or layered in a baking dish with a meaty sauce. The meat used varies from Italian sausage to minced meat. Then it is baked.
In Italian the word ‘Al Forno” means to the oven, meaning baked. For my version of baked pasta, I added vegetables to the pasta. Prepared the sauces and mixed everything together before baking it.
What Vegetables To Use For Vegetable Baked Pasta
Usually I use peas, carrot, French Beans and sweet corn. Sometimes, I add zucchini, broccoli, mushrooms, sweet pepper, green capsicum, etc. It all depends on what I have at hand. Feel free to add vegetables of your choice. I use fresh vegetables but you can use frozen ones too.
Homemade Tomato Sauce
I prefer making the pasta sauce at home. I use fresh tomatoes. However, you can use either canned or fresh tomatoes. To save time you can use ready made pasta sauce. I tend to find ready made sauces too vinegary.
We prefer pasta that is not too saucy or too dry. You can add the amount of sauce according to your family’s preference.
White Sauce or Fresh Cream
I tend to mix both tomato sauce and white sauce or fresh cream for that added creaminess and also so that the sauce actually ‘sticks’ to the pasta and vegetables.
Type of Cheese
The choice is yours. I generally use a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella and sometimes add parmesan too. It depends on what is available. Whenever I prepare Vegetable Baked Pasta in Montreal, I tend to use marbled Monterey Jack Cheese.
Type of Pasta
Basically, any of your preference. There have been times when I’ve had small quantities of penne, fusilli, shell pasta and spaghetti, which I’ve mixed for Vegetable Baked Pasta or used one type only.
Can The Ratio Of Vegetables To Pasta Vary?
It definitely can. To get kids to enjoy more veggies, I sometimes add more vegetables and less pasta. The written recipe is just a rough guideline.
My mum’s version of pasta was a simple Indian flavored on which my siblings and I would call Mum’s Buitoni. Back then only buttony brand macaroni was available in the markets. I learnt how to make Vegetable Baked Pasta from Nunu, my mother in law. And boy what a huge tray we use to bake. Usually baked pasta was not enjoyed just by the family but we would invite family or friends over. Generally, Garlic Bread, Vegetable Baked Pasta, Salad and a dessert was served. Nunu would just use homemade tomato sauce only and sometimes on baking the dish would turn a bit watery. Incidentally, the idea of using both tomato and white sauce or cream came from the pastas served in the Italian Restaurants in Mombasa. The choice usually was tomato, white or pink sauce. Pink Sauce is a mixture of tomato and white sauces.
Some More Pasta Dishes:
- Refreshing Pasta with Coriander Mint and Cashew Nut Pesto
- Pasta with Parsley Walnut Pesto
- Creamy Pasta with Butternut Squash Sauce
- My favorite Pasta with Mushroom Sauce
- Flavorful Pasta with Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Sauce
- Delicious Pasta with Spinach Sauce
- Chilli Garlic Pasta
- Vegetable Cheese Macaroni
- Mexican Macaroni
- Spaghetti with Vegetable Sauce
THE GROUP FOODIES _ REDOING OLD POSTS – VEGETABLE BAKED PASTA
The Group Foodies_Redoing Old Posts, started by Renu helps the members to make an effort to update old posts. I cannot believe that a dish that is prepared at least twice a month if not more in my house, had horrible hazy photos. Every time I made Vegetable Baked Pasta, it did not occur to me to take fresh photos. Well, finally the day came, just a couple of days ago.
Updated on 05/03/2021. First Published on 18/07/2012
Ingredients Required For Vegetable Baked Pasta
- Pasta – any of your choice or a mixture.
- Fresh or Canned Tomato Puree – for the sauce.
- Fresh or Frozen Mixed Vegetables – any of your choice. Can steam them separately or boil with the pasta.
- Plain Flour – for the white sauce. Can replace it with wheat flour or oats flour.
- Milk – for the white sauce.
- Cheese – any cheese that melts well. I usually use cheddar and mozzarella. Sometimes I add parmesan to the pasta vegetable mixture for added flavour. Locally I prefer using Sirimon Cheese. When in India, I prefer using Nilgiri Cheddar or Kodai Cheese both cheddar and mozzarella. When in UK or Montreal, the choice is endless for some really good cheese.
- Water – for boiling the pasta and vegetables.
- Herbs – use any of your choice. Use fresh or dried. When I get fresh oregano, basil I like to use them otherwise its dried mixed herbs.
- Onion – any onion of your choice, finely chopped for the tomato sauce.
- Garlic – peeled and chopped or minced for the tomato sauce.
- Black Pepper – Coarsely ground pepper for the sauces.
- Salt – for the pasta and sauces.
- Sugar – a little for the tomato sauce.
- Nutmeg – for the white sauce.
- Chilli Flakes – optional , but I like to add some to the tomato sauce.
- Olive oil – for the sauces and to sauté mushrooms.
I always get confused how much pasta is required for each person. The general rule is about 56g or 2 oz.
Suitable for Vegetarians. We get cheese with vegetable rennet which I tend to use.
Check Out The Simple Step by Step Video:
VEGETABLE BAKED PASTA
FOR THE PASTA:
- 3 cups pasta approx 300g
- 5-6 cups water
- 1½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp oil
FOR THE VEGETABLES:
- ½ cup peas
- ½ cup carrots peeled and diced
- ½ cup french beans chopped
- ½ cup sweet corn
- 1 cup mushrooms sliced or quartered
FOR THE PASTA TOMATO SAUCE:
- 1 cup onions diced
- 1- 2 tbsp garlic minced
- 1 tsp mixed herbs or a handful of fresh herbs
- 3 cups fresh tomato puree thick
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp sugar
- ½ tsp pepper powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp red chilli flakes
FOR WHITE SAUCE:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp plain, wheat or oat flour
- 1 cup milk
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp nutmeg powder
- ¼ tsp pepper powder
- 2-3 cups cheese grated
- 1 tbsp olive oil for the mushrooms
PREPARATION OF PASTA & VEGETABLES:
- Bring the water to boil in a large deep pan over high or medium heat.
- When the water begins to boil add salt, oil, pasta and the vegetables except for mushrooms.
- Cook the pasta and vegetables for about 10 -12 minutes or as specified on the pasta packet.
- Drain out the cooked pasta vegetable mixture into a colander.
PREPARATION OF PASTA TOMATO SAUCE:
- Heat oil in pan over medium heat.
- Add the chopped onion and stir fry till it becomes soft and transculent.
- Add minced garlic, mix for a few seconds.
- Add tomato puree and the herbs.
- Cover the pan and allow the sauce to simmer till it becomes thick. This will take about 7-10 minutes.
- Once the sauce becomes thick, take the pan off the heat.
- Add salt, sugar and pepper powder. Mix well.
PREPARATION OF WHITE SAUCE:
- Heat oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Add flour and stir fry over low heat till the flour turns pinkish.
- Take the pan off the heat and add milk in a steady stream, mixing all the time.
- This prevents lumps from forming.
- Return the pan over medium heat. Keep stirring till the sauce becomes a little thick, much like custard.
- Take the pan off the heat. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg powders and mix well.
FINAL STEP - BAKING
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Heat oil in the deep pan you used for boiling the pasta and vegetables.
- Add sliced or quartered mushrooms and stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
- Take the pan off the heat.
- Add the pasta vegetable mixture.
- Mix tomato and white sauces well.
- Add to the pasta mixture and mix well.
- Spoon the mixture into a big baking tray or small ones.
- Top with the grated cheese.
- Bake the pasta for 25- 30 minutes ot until the cheese melts and begins to turn golden in colour.
- Remove the tray from the oven.
- Serve Vegetable Baked Pasta with your favourite salad and garlic bread.
- Can sauté ½ cup of chopped sweet pepper of your choice with the onions.
- If you want to serve this dish to guests, you can prepare it ahead. Don't mix the pasta into the sauce till you are ready to bake it.
- If kids cannot wait for too long, heat the pasta mixture on the stove top first. Then spoon it into the baking tray. Add cheese and allow it to melt under the grill or broiler for 5-7 minutes.
- Can add fresh herbs.
- Adjust the spices according to your taste.
- Add vegetables of your choice.
- Steam vegetables instead of boiling.
- Instead of white sauce use fresh cream.
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