I have always loved Fall. It’s the meeting of most of my favorite things: warm days with cool nights, baseball and football, local breweries and their Oktoberfest brews and most importantly; fresh produce and hearty meals.
While perusing the Farmer’s Market last weekend, I saw the late harvests of eggplant, zucchini, peppers and onions. Immediately, this had me thinking about dinner. Well, most things get me thinking about dinner I suppose, but with this one, I think I was onto something delicious.
I got home and started ransacking the fridge and pantry; I found a batch of homemade marinara in the freezer and a box of rigatoni keeping the shelf from getting dirty. Hey, wait! Didn’t I see some goat cheese somewhere? Yes, yes I did.
Something you need to know about me: I love cookware. I love it so much I own over 40 individual ramekins of various sizes. I knew I had to put whatever this was going to be into some of those ramekins.
I started the pasta boiling. I chunked up the veggies. And then I thought….Roast them. So they went into the oven with a little olive oil. By now, my house was smelling all kinds of awesome. I warmed the sauce, added the pasta and veggies, and divided it between six of my previously mentioned ramekins. Then I topped it with some grated parmesan cheese and tossedit into the oven.
And that was when I realized I had forgotten the goat cheese. Oh well, no harm, no foul.
What came out of the oven was perfect! Piping hot pasta with a crisp cheese topping and those slightly over cooked pasta edges that everyone loves! Hey, where did that goat cheese go? A few dollops on top and the heat from the pasta melted it just enough to give everything a creamy finish.
As I put down my fork, and finished my glass of Malbec (which goes perfectly with this dinner, by the way), I thought to myself, “Fall really is the greatest time of year.”
I’ve included the recipe below; I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Baked Rigatoni with Roasted Vegetables - 6 servings
- 1 pound rigaoni
- 1 eggplant, peeled & diced
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- ½ onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cups marinara sauce (homemade is best, but store-bought will do)
- ½ cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 3 oz. goat cheese
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Place vegetables on large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until softened and slightly charred, about 45-60 minutes.
- Cook pasta according to manufacturer’s directions. Heat marinara to a simmer.
- In large bowl or saucepan, combine roasted vegetables and pasta. Add sauce and stir to combine.
- Spray 6 individual serving dishes or a 9×11 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Place pasta mixture in baking pans and top with parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until cheese is browned and sauce is bubbly.
- Crumble goat cheese over top of dish. Allow pasta to rest at least 10 minutes before serving.
*Looking for a lower carb alternative? Roast 1 pound of chicken breast, top with the veggies, sauce and cheese, bake at 400° for 30 minutes and you’ll have a delicious Catticatore-style dinner in no time!