My kids love pasta and I am always on the lookout for new recipes. This recipe is from Giada of FoodNetwork and of course I made my tweaks to make it healthy. I do not believe in adding loads of cheese to make a dish taste good. Instead I use minimum fat and concentrate on other healthy ingredients to make up for the minimum fat. Pasta can be jazzed up in different ways using different vegetables and it is something which we start liking instantly. My mom who had no idea about pasta liked it the first time we made it when she visited us. This recipe calls for roasting the vegetables and then adding it to pasta. So that is an extra step but I feel it is well worth it as I could not stop eating !!!. So are you ready for the yummy low fat pasta?
6 servings penne pasta
1 green bell pepper
1/2 medium onion
few cauliflower florets
4 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp italian seasoning (optional)
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1.5 cups marinara sauce
1/2 cup cheese
Prepare the vegetables first. Cut the bell pepper and onion into 1 inch strips. We want the mushrooms to be big since they shrink a lot in the oven. So just quarter them. Cut the zucchini lengthwise and then dice it. Cut cauliflower into small pieces. Try to keep the sizes even so they cook evenly.
Next add olive oil, salt, pepper and italian seasoning and mix with hands so that the vegetables are coated with oil. You can use whatever spice you prefer instead of Italian Seasoning.
Place in a 450F preheated oven for 15 minutes. Note the vegetables are done but they are still firm.
Meanwhile bring a pot of water to a boil. Add salt and the penne pasta. Cook till al dente since it is going to be cooked further in the oven. I generally wash the cooked pasta with cold water to keep it separate.
To the cooked pasta add the marinara sauce. I used store bought prego sauce. Next add the roasted vegetables. Then add the frozen peas, salt, pepper. Finally I added around 1/4 cup of cheese.
Mix everything well. Look how moist and colorful it looks .. I am getting ready to eat
Transfer to an oven safe dish. I used the cute LocknLock dish which I received sometime back. The dish looked small but it held a whole lot of pasta. I have to mention that this pot also comes with an orange lid with holes for straining and a colander.
Turn the oven down to 350F since everything is already cooked. Keep it covered in foil for the first 15 minutes. Then remove foil and allow cheese to melt and it took around 10 minutes.
Finally to add some color place under broiler. This is totally optional and would give a nice brown crust if more cheese is used. Are you’ll drooling yet ?? The roasting brought out a whole lot of flavor in the veggies and I have to say that I did not miss the extra cheese.
That was the healthy pasta with less cheese for K and me. I decided to go a bit easy on cheese for the kids and assembled the remaining pasta in another pretty LocknLock pan. The extra cheese does wonders to the taste buds but not to the waistline I guess !!
Another look at the cheesy pasta ..
Anyway kids loved their version and we loved ours.
Interested in the pans? Here are the links ..
Lock & Lock Glass Pan, Orange, 4.8-Cup, 39-Fluid Ounces
Lock & Lock Glass Pot, Orange, 7-Inch, 45.6-Fluid Ounces
1. Use any vegetables on hand.
2. Go easy or less on cheese. I added less cheese and let the vegetables and sauce dictate the taste.
3. Play with spices. I have even added a bit of sambar powder sometimes.
4. A little good quality cheese goes a long way. I just need a bit of flavor not loads of it.