Hearty Rustic Vegetable Baked Rigatoni
Prep Time: About 1 Hour
Serves: 6 – 8 People
½ Pound Dried Rigatoni
½ Cup Olive Oil
½ of 1 Large Onion, chopped into 1/2 “ pieces
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
2 Red Bell Peppers, cut into 1/2 “ pieces
6 oz. Crimini Mushrooms, cleaned and cut in quarters
1 Small Eggplant, cut into 1” cubes
1 Zucchini, cut into ½” thick half moons
1 – 28oz. Can Diced Tomatoes
1 – 6 oz. Can Tomato Paste
1 Tbsp. Dried Oregano
1 Cup Kalamata Olives, pitted and sliced in half
1 Pound Ricotta Cheese
12 oz. Crumbled Feta
2 Eggs, beaten
Salt and Pepper
Extra Feta and Olives for garnish
Preheat oven to 375F.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While the water is heating up wash and chop all of the vegetables. Once the water has come to a boil add the pasta and cook for about 2 minutes less than what the package instructs. Drain the pasta and run under cold water. Return to the pot, drizzle with olive oil and give it a stir so it doesn’t stick.
While the pasta is cooking in a separate pot you can begin your sauce. First heat the olive oil over medium heat. Next add the onions, sprinkle with salt and pepper. After about 2 minutes add the garlic and red pepper flakes, stir for a minute and then add the the remaining vegetables in the following order: Peppers, Mushrooms, Eggplant, Zucchini. Add each vegetable separately, stir for about a minute and then add the next vegetable, sprinkling with a bit of salt throughout. Once all the vegetables have started to soften add the diced tomatoes along with the tomato paste and 1 ½ cups of water. Bring the sauce to a boil, stir in the olives and turn down to a simmer. Cover the pot, leaving the top slightly ajar, and simmer for about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings, then place the sauce in the fridge for about 30 minutes to cool off.
While the sauce is cooling prepare the Ricotta Cheese mixture. In a medium bowl stir together the ricotta cheese, feta cheese, eggs, a pinch of salt and about ¼ tsp. black pepper. Stir until evenly combined.
After 30 minutes you can assemble your dish. First, butter a 9 X 13 sized baking dish. Next, stir together the pasta and the vegetable tomato sauce. Now take the cheese mixture and dollop five generous spoonfuls on the bottom of the dish. Then spread half of the pasta and vegetable mix over the cheese and spread it evenly in the dish. Next, dollop a few more spoonfuls of cheese mix over the pasta and then spread the remaining pasta over the cheese. To finish the dish dollop the remaining ricotta mix over the top of the dish, keeping it spotty so that veggies and pasta can be seen. If you have extra olives and feta cheese sprinkle those over the top of the dish.
Place the dish in the center of the oven and bake for 1 hour. Once the ricotta gets a little dark and the pasta on the sides of the dish get nice and crispy remove the dish from the oven.
Allow it to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.