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Make the best of the end of the summer garden with this fresh and cheesy pasta bake. It looks decadent, but calls for only one ounce of cheese per serving. The roasted garlic brings a mellow flavor that pulls it all together.
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Time: About 30 minutes active; 90 minutes total
1 head garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon salt and pepper, divided
1 large onion, small dice
1 pound eggplant, small dice
1 pound zucchini, small dice
1 large green pepper, small dice
2 pounds tomatoes, small dice
1 cup fresh basil, sliced, divided
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (this makes a spicy sauce!)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 lemon, zested
1 pound whole wheat rigatoni
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut off the top of the head of garlic. Place in a sheet of foil and pull up the sides. Add 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Bake 45 minutes. Remove and let cool. (For more photos and instructions, see my Roasted Garlic Rosemary Rolls recipe.)
2. In a large skillet, heat remaining extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, eggplant, zucchini, and pepper. Sauté for 10 minutes until softened and slightly browned.
3. Add tomatoes, 1/4 cup fresh basil, red pepper flakes, sugar and lemon zest. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
4. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of salted water for 8 minutes, until al dente. Drain, rinse and set aside.
5. Squeeze roasted garlic into vegetable mixture, and add grated mozzarella and rigatoni. Stir well.
6. In a cooking-sprayed 9 x 13 casserole dish, pour and spread out the mixture. Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes.
7. Remove foil, sprinkle with remaining basil and Parmesan cheese. Bake 15 minutes more. Remove and let cool 15-20 minutes. Serve hot.
Writer Bio: Adrienne D. Capps loves food AND is a vegetarian! These things are not mutually exclusive in her world. She is passionate about eating, drinking, cooking, teaching, reading about food and growing food. Her goal with her food blog, Vegetarianized.com, is to open up the world of vegetarian cooking and eating to the veg-friendly and the veg-curious in an accessible way. She promises never to try to convert or make you feel guilty—just that eating less meat can be part of a healthy, fun and, above all, tasty lifestyle.