Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Green Vegetable and Pasta Casserole

The joy of a fridge clean out! Tonight I came home starving and had nothing to make for dinner. I wanted to whip something up quickly and had to figure out how to combine what I had on hand. I decided on some baked pasta with ricotta and lots of green veggies. I mixed everything up, threw it in the oven and crossed my fingers that it'd be edible. It turned out to be a great invention. Filling and comforting, but light and packed with cancer fighting leafy greens. I was counting on leftovers, but Craig ate almost the whole thing!

The key to making this tasty pasta is to cram in as many veggies as you can. I had a bunch of kale and broccoli, but any leafy green would do. Spinach, chard, or rabe - anything would be delicious. I shredded the veggies in a food processor, added onion and garlic and tossed with the pasta. I had a bunch of leftover proscuitto from making bracciole this weekend, so I chopped that up and threw it in as well. I added some fresh basil for flavor, but you could always just stir in a tablespoon of store bought pesto instead.

Have a mentioned this dish is packed with veggies? I have between six and seven cups in here (depending on the size of your broccoli), but you could certainly add more if you were so inclined. Park skim ricotta adds a creamy texture and some filling protein but I think in the future I may add shredded chicken too. Best of all, this whole thing can be put together in less than 30 minutes!

Read more for the full recipe

1lb whole wheat pasta (shells, elbows, penne, ect...)
4 cups kale, ribs removed and rinsed
2-3 cups broccoli florets (approx one large head of broccoli)
1 medium onion
4 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
3/4 cup skim milk
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp grated Parmesan
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 lb prosciutto, chopped (reserve one slice for the top)

Step by Step Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350

2. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside

3. Shred kale and broccoli in a food processor (you can also just finely chop)

4. In a large mixing bowl, combine shredded kale and broccoli

5. Dice garlic and onion and add to veggie mixture (or chop in food processor)

6. Puree basil leaves and add to veggie mixture

7. Mix in red pepper, black pepper, 1/4 cup Parmesan and chopped proscuitto

8. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together milk and ricotta

9. Toss veggies, cooked pasta and milk/cheese mixture together, coat all pasta thoroughly

10. Spray casserole dish with olive oil cooking spray

11. Pour pasta mixture into casserole dish and spread evenly

12. Top with slices of proscuitto and remaining Parmesan

13. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes until cheese bubbles

14. Serve warm!


At February 1, 2012 at 9:53 PM , Blogger PolaM said...

Beautiful, luscious pasta! I'm sure I would love it!

At February 1, 2012 at 10:52 PM , Blogger Red_Shallot said...

I'm coming over! I'll bring my own plate and fork!

At February 1, 2012 at 11:36 PM , Blogger Sweet and Salty SF said...

This turned out great and sneaks in a bunch of nutrients! Great idea!

At February 2, 2012 at 12:33 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This looks good!!! Buzzed you on foodbuzz!!!

At February 2, 2012 at 12:09 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like when pasta can be made healthier with the addition of veggies. Looks great!

At February 2, 2012 at 1:12 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mmmm, this looks amazing! Love the kale in this, too. I think this'd be a winner in my house!

At February 3, 2012 at 8:19 AM , Blogger Jay said...

lovely recipe ...very tempting..
Tasty Appetite

At February 3, 2012 at 12:31 PM , Blogger Ally said...

Well done! This looks divine! I love kale & basil... perfect!

At February 3, 2012 at 12:45 PM , Blogger Kristen said...

I think my kids would be much more apt to eat those greens shredded and mixed with pasta. What a great idea. I am sure the proscuitto added a great flavor, too. Thanks for coming over to visit my blog!

At February 3, 2012 at 2:55 PM , Blogger Suzi said...

Looks delicious and I love that you added the kale. Congrats on the Top 9. Have a great weekend.

At February 3, 2012 at 7:39 PM , Blogger Lizzy said...

Oh, boy does this look wonderful! Creamy, full of veggies and that prosciutto topping all make it so yummy!

At February 7, 2012 at 7:54 PM , Blogger CulinaryCache said...

I'm a big believer that some of my best dishes have come from cleaning out my fridge! Sounds like you put together a delicious meal!

At February 10, 2012 at 3:20 AM , Blogger riku said...

wow! thanks for the recipe. i will surely try making this at home together with my favorite pizza hampton. can i use quick melt or mozzarella cheese as a substitute for Parmesan? yum, yum!


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