Sometimes, I crave chicken and sometimes, I crave a steak, but then I hit a phase where I don’t feel like eating meat at all. I just want all the veggies … and I want pasta. This week turned out kind of perfectly. My tax refund came in, I was tired of meat, and Lent starts Wednesday … and then we have the fun conversation among southern Louisianians regarding whether Alligator is considered meat or seafood. (For the record, the Archbishop of News Orleans said Alligator is seafood.)
Since the food stars aligned, I hit the produce section hard at my local Rouses grocery store.
I also grabbed a bag of Italian blend cheese to go along with a jar of pasta sauce that I purchased from Brandless and a pack of Penne pasta I purchased on a previous excursion to Sam’s Club.
Here’s all the ingredients I used, but if you don’t like one of these, simply omit it and make it your own.
- 1 – 16oz package of pasta (aim for penne, rigatoni, elbow, etc … but any noodle will always work)
- 1 – 24oz jar of your favorite pasta sauce
- 1 – medium sized Eggplant
- 2 – medium sized Zucchini
- 2 – medium sized Yellow Squash
- 4 – Roma tomatoes
- 6 – baby Portobello mushrooms
- 1/2 – sweet onion (or any onion; I prefer sweet)
- 1 tablespoon – minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon – butter
- Italian Seasoning (basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, and thyme)
- Olive Oil
I decided to make things go a lot easier and pulled out my trusty mandoline slicer.
To have a pleasant presentation and for even cooking time, it’s best to have uniform cuts of your veggies; however, this dish could also be made the rustic way and the oven can be avoided all together. I’ll get to that improvisation in a bit. But be careful with this slicer. It’s sharp.
Also, put your water on the stove to boil and salt the heck out of it.
After spending some time with the slicer and jamming to The Greatest Showman soundtrack courtesy of your Echo Dot, you’ve cut up everything and you’re ready to cook the pasta. Drain the water from the pasta and return to the hot pot and add the tablespoon of butter and about a handful of the Italian cheese. Stir it up so it’s melted together. Pull out a casserole dish or whatever oven safe vessel you’d like to present your dish in, and line the bottom of the dish with your pasta. Sprinkle some salt, pepper, and Italian Seasoning on top.
Cover the pasta with a layer of pasta sauce.
Sauté the onion and the garlic until they’re soft.
Add the onion and garlic to the top of the sauce.
I ended up having a tomato that was hard to slice, so I ended up using this as a layer in the middle of the dish. And I added a layer of cheese. I don’t use a lot of cheese, but totally cheese it up however you wish. Then, top that with a layer of thinly sliced mushrooms. I used a knife to cut these. I wasn’t risking another finger to slice mushrooms on the mandoline.
Then you start layering your veggies (while still jamming to The Greatest Showman soundtrack). My pattern was: Eggplant, Zucchini, Squash, Tomato, Squash, Zucchini. Then start again with the Eggplant.
It’s time consuming, but if you’re like me and like pretty food …
… it’s worth it.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
I find that it’s difficult to season all the veggies in this form. I do recommend to spray olive oil on top or drizzle with olive oil, and then season with salt, pepper, and Italian Seasoning. If you want to add some garlic powder or garlic seasoning, I’m all for it.
Cover your dish with foil or an oven safe cover and place it in the oven for 40 minutes covered. Take off the foil/cover and continue for 20 minutes uncovered.
And then go watch Ratatouille with Remy the Rat Chef while you eat because it’s one of my favorite Disney-Pixar movies.
Rustic Ratatouille Pasta
This dish can also be done in a lot less time in a more rustic, yet still tasty, way.
Simply sauté all your veggies together and when they’re softened, add a jar of pasta sauce to the pan.
It’s a quicker version of this veggie staple and a frequent meal plan of choice.
Have you made any of my meal plan recipes, or do you have a favorite? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook. 💚
For your reading pleasure, check out my cowboys and cops available on all ebook platforms. #DoYouHearTheBuzz