veggie pasta bake

$9.62 recipe / $1.20 serving

I found this recipe over at Polywig while doing my daily browse through food-photo sites. The photos made it so enticing with all of it’s vegetables and melted cheesy goodness… it instantly went onto my “to cook” list.

This week I was in the mood for a hearty pasta dish so I pulled this one from the list. It’s pretty tasty and I’ve been eating it happily for the past couple of days but it’s not exactly mind blowing (not like the Asian Sticky Wings or anything). I’d probably rate the recipe a 7 out of 10 but I still wanted to post it because the recipe has good bones. You could add any number of things to transform it into a truly spectacular dish. I might, for instance, add a can of tomato sauce next time for a little more saucy tomato punch. If you’re into canned “cream of” soups, that would act as a great binder and bring everything together nicely too.

Oh, and BTW, Whole Milk mozzarella is absolutely crucial. Most mozzarella that you see in the store is part skim and truly has only part of the flavor as a result. Whole milk mozzarella is usually packaged in a square block, not a long rectangle like most cheese blocks. Don’t be tempted to substitute.

Veggie Pasta Bake

Veggie Pasta Bake

veggie pasta bake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Total Cost: $9.62
Cost Per Serving: $1.20
Serves: 8-10
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. macaroni $1.12
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.21
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.06
  • 1 medium onion $0.36
  • 8 oz. button mushrooms $1.98
  • 1 can (15 oz.) fire roasted tomatoes $0.86
  • 1 pkg (10 oz) frozen spinach $0.96
  • 16 oz. whole milk mozzarella $3.22
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese $0.47
  • ½ cup bread crumbs $0.18
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg $0.05
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper $0.05
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes $0.05
  • to taste salt and pepper $0.05
Instructions
  1. Boil a large pot of water and cook the macaroni noodles according to the package directions (boil for 10-15 minutes or until al dente). Drain and set aside until ready to use.
  2. Chop the onion and mince the garlic cloves. Cook both in a large skillet in 2 Tbsp of olive oil over medium heat until soft (about 5 min.). Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until they are soft and brown in color (a dash of salt will help).
  3. Preheat the oven to 350. Add the undrained can of tomatoes and the thawed package of spinach to the skillet. I did not drain either one so that the juices would add more flavor. Heat all of the vegetables through then season to taste with salt, fresh ground pepper, nutmeg, cayenne and red pepper flakes (or whatever seasonings you like).
  4. Stir the cooked vegetables into the pasta (I used the original pasta pot as it was the only thing large enough to hold everything). Dice the mozzarella into small chunks. Combine the parmesan and breadcrumbs in a small bowl. Add the mozzarella and parmesan mixture to the pasta and stir until everything is evenly combined.
  5. Coat a large glass baking dish with non-stick spray and transfer the pasta mixture into it. Cover the dish with foil (to keep the top from drying) and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the cheese has fully melted.

 

Step By Step Photos

cook pastaCook the pasta (boil water, add pasta, boil ’till soft), drain and reserve until ready to assemble the casserole.

good beginningsThis recipe starts with onion, garlic and olive oil… as do many delicious recipes. Cook ‘em till they are soft.

add mushroomsAdd the sliced mushrooms and continue to cook until they are soft, brown and have released their juices (a dash of salt helps this along).

tomato and spinachAdd the can of tomatoes and the thawed spinach. I didn’t bother to drain either because I wanted all of the flavor they had to offer.

heat throughMix the veggies together and heat through. Is this not a gorgeous mix of vegetables? Quite flavorful too!

add veggies to pastaStir the cooked veggies into the pasta. The juices from the vegetables will help loosen up the pasta if it has gotten stuck together.

whole milk mozzarellaDice the mozzarella up into small pieces. The smaller the pieces, the more evenly distributed the cheese will be throughout the casserole.

mix in cheesesMix together the parmesan and bread crumbs in a separate bowl then add them to the pasta along with the mozzarella.

all stirred togetherStir it all up and do everything you can not to dive into the pot face first… because it looks that delicious.

bakePour the whole mix into a well oiled baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Cover with foil to keep the pasta on top from drying out.

veggie pasta bakeEat and enjoy.

9 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    This recipe could so use some bacon.. or prosciutto.

  2. I know what I making for dinner tonight!!!

  3. You could add a creamy texture to this by adding some cream cheese or cream. A sauce would add a lot to all these wonderful flavors. You wouldn’t even need to bake it then…it could be a stove-top dish. Just imagining the possibilities! :)

  4. This one is a winner. I will try to make it. Yummy yummy!

  5. Made this tonight and it was delicious. Thanks for all the great recipes! It was great making something that I already had most of the ingredients for.

  6. Thank you so much for making this recipe. I am glad you enjoyed it. If you want it creamier I would add some sort of spicy bechamel to even cook with or drizzle over ;)

  7. Anonymous says:

    This recipe is amazing! Thank you

  8. spicy! and really filling! :] I used fresh spinach and it was quite tasty. Thanks for a delicious recipe!

  9. Have this in the oven as I write this! I did halve the cheese, as cheese is really expensive. The amount of cheese you called for would easily be $8-$10 so I used half the amount in shredded form. :)

    I think I have enough to feed a whole country though! lol

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