Baked Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Asparagus, Spinach, Zucchini, and Peas

August 3, 2010 § Leave a comment

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of Trader Joe’s Rotelle whole wheat pasta
  • 1 container Trader Joe’s low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 3 medium zucchini (sliced into 1 inch thick strips)
  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1 bag of frozen spinach (defrosted and wrung out)
  • 1 cup of fresh peas or frozen peas defrosted
  • Olive oil
  • 3-4 pieces of Trader Joe’s cracked wheat sourdough bread
  • 3 large cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • Zest of lemon
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Homemade or home style ranch dressing (for serving)

Directions:

1.  Preheat your oven to 425º.  Cut the head of cauliflower into 1 inch florets.  Toss the florets with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Spread the florets out, in a single layer, on a rimmed baking pan.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until florets are tender and have browned in spots.

2.  While the cauliflower is cooking, heat a grill pan and grill up the bunch of asparagus and zucchini.  When the asparagus and zucchini is cooked, be careful you still want them to be crisp, set them on a plate to cool.

3.  Cook the pasta according to the packages directions.   Make sure you generously salt the pasta water to add flavor to the pasta.

4.  While the pasta is cooking and the veggies are cooling off, make the crouton crust for the top of the pasta.  In a food processor, combine the bread (tear them into large pieces), chopped parsley, and lemon zest.  Pulse until you have medium sized crumbs.  Add a drizzle of olive oil and pulse 2-3 times to just incorporate the oil.

5.  When the pasta is done cooking, drain the pasta and reserve 1 1/2 cups of the pasta water for use later in this recipe.  Put the drained pasta back into the same pot you cooked the pasta in.

6.  To the cooked pasta, add the roasted cauliflower, grilled asparagus and zucchini (cut it into bite sized pieces before adding it into the pot), spinach, peas, red pepper flakes, the reserved pasta water, and the container of low-fat ricotta cheese. Mix until combined.

7.  Add Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

8.  Put the pasta in a large baking dish.  Top the pasta with the breadcrumb mixture, drizzle lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Bake in a 350° oven until the pasta is heated all the way through and the crumb topping has browned (about 30-40 minutes).

I serve ranch dressing on the side for this pasta dish.  If you aren’t obsessive about counting calories, a drizzle of cold ranch dressing on top of this warm summer pasta is heavenly.

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