Baked Pasta W/Summer Veggies

Baked Cheesy Pasta W/Summer Vegetables via Brittany's PantryI completely underestimated this dish.  I’ll explain.

I have mentioned before that I usually keep a running list of menus to make for dinner during that week.  I glance through my freezer and sort of mentally pair things with what I have coming out of my garden in the next few days and what is stashed in my pantry (Hmmm…do fresh tomatoes go well with freezer burned cornish game hen?).  Sometimes I pull a recipe that I have recently come across or been scribbling down and add that to the stack so that when I look at the list and see, in my own handwriting, a meal I have never made before, I don’t start searching through my piles and piles of paper trying to find it.  I have it all right there with the menus.

Of course, this system is absolutely perfect, life doesn’t get in the way at all, and I never stray from my weekly menu…

So I have had this dish on my menu for weeks now.  It keeps making its way to the next week and then the next, never getting made.  It had been so long since I actually read the recipe, I had no idea what it was anymore.  So this weekend, I just sat down and made it.  So…now I know why I flagged it in the first place.  I mean, hello!!  It uses zucchini and summer squash!  Two things I am always trying to get rid of in August!  It is fresh and not too heavy but still satisfyingly cheesy and gooey.  Despite the fact that this recipe has one major flaw-no meat!-you won’t miss it.  Seriously!  I can’t believe I am telling you this, but is absolutely perfect without it.  There are a few steps to putting it together, but nothing complicated.  Leftovers a day or two later are wonderful!  I have already added it to the menus for company in a few weeks.  Hold the frosty chicken…Baked Cheesy Pasta W/Summer Vegetables via Brittany's PantryBaked Cheesy Pasta W/Summer Vegetables via Brittany's Pantry One Year Ago: BBQ Pulled Pork

Baked Pasta W/Summer Veggies
A hunk of crusty bread is perfect with this.  Maybe two hunks.

1 small summer squash, cubed
1 small zucchini, cubed
1/2 onion chopped fine
1 large tomato, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T chopped, fresh basil
1 tsp dried oregano
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 c low fat-ricotta cheese
1 egg
2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 pound rigatoni, ziti, penne, or penne rigate, cooked according to package directions

In a large skillet, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.  Saute squash, zucchini and onion, for a few minutes or just until starting to soften.  Add chopped tomato, garlic, salt and pepper.  Heat together for 2-3 more minutes or until fragrant and heated through.  Remove from heat and add the pasta, 1/2 of the mozzarella, oregano, and basil.  I had to do this in a large separate bowl.  Set aside and in a small bowl, beat ricotta and egg together with a fork until smooth.  Stir into the pasta and vegetables and pour the whole thing into a large, sprayed casserole dish.  Top with last cup of mozzarella.  Bake at 400 degrees until bubbly and evenly browned, about 15 minutes.  It won’t take long because everything is already cooked and hot.  Enjoy!