Baked Rigatoni with Zucchini

Zucchini is one of our most favourite vegetables. You can add some cubes of meat or chicken to this sauce if you like but honestly, I just prefer it the way it’s. Sometimes I serve ti with some chicken on the side. Have a great week!

Baked Rigatoni with Zucchini

Ingredients

  • 400g (14oz) rigatoni
  • 1kg (2Ib) zucchini (courgette) cut into thin half moon slices
  • Olive oil, about ½ cup
  • 200g (7oz) mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated (or Monterey Jack and Mozzarella)

Ingredients for tomato sauce

  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic crushed
  • ½-1 teaspoon red chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 x 796 can whole tomatoes crushed, chopped or roughly blended
  • 1 beef or chicken bouillon cube (optional)
  • ½-1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon thyme rubbed between fingers (or a few thyme sprigs)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano
  • ¼ cup heavy cream (35-40%) (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Generously oil a 13 x 9 inch (23 x 33 cm) oven proof dish on the base and sides. Heat the oven to 425ºF (220ºC) ten minutes before using.
  2. Make the tomato sauce: Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil and sauté onions and garlic 5 minutes, until soft. Add 1 teaspoon paprika and cook 1 minute, then add the tomatoes and bouillon cube (if using). Bring to the sauce to the boil and simmer 15-30 minutes until thickened. Stir in the sugar, crushed thyme or fresh thyme sprigs, Parmesan cheese and cream (if using).
  3. Fry the zucchini: while the sauce is simmering, heat 2-3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet and shallow fry the  zucchini on both sides over medium high heat until charred but still with a crunch (4-8 minutes). Season with salt and freshly ground pepper (or crushed red pepper) and remove and set aside.
  4. Cook the pasta in plenty of salted water as per package instructions for half the stated maximum time. Drain the pasta.
  5. Toss everything together and Bake: toss the pasta and zucchini with the tomato sauce and mix thoroughly. Transfer into the prepared 9 x13-inch dish and top with the grated cheese. Bake in the middle of the oven 15-20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Serve immediately.

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Step by Step Photos

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil and sauté onions, garlic and chilli flakes, 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the paprika and cook 1 minute.

then add the tomatoes and bouillon cube (if using). Bring the sauce to the boil and simmer 15-30 minutes until thickened. Stir in the crushed thyme or fresh thyme sprigs and Parmesan cheese. Remove from the heat and keep hot. Meanwhile heat 2-3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet and shallow fry the  zucchini over medium high heat until charred but still with a crunch (4-6 minutes). Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and set aside (do not drain the oil).

Toss the pasta with the zucchini and the tomato sauce and mix thoroughly. Transfer into the prepared 9 x13-inch dish and top with the grated cheese. Bake in the middle of the oven 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. Serve immediately

Author: Liz

I love everything food: eating, cooking, baking and travelling. I also love photography and nature.

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