Baked Pasta with Zucchini and Corn Recipe:
A mildly spicy pasta recipe, penne, zucchini, babycorn, mozzarella and parmesan baked to perfection.
Sunday special in delicious pasta is the most predictable brunch at my place, the element of surprise is infused in the way we cook it, a new twist every time. Vouching by our love for Italian food this morning I baked the pasta with some in season vegetables and a freshly made tomato sauce. It turned out super delicious, I was surprised myself for I didn’t have too much hope on zucchini and corn to add the favour to pasta, but still I kept following my instincts and here we are. Oh yes, I completely agree that the combination sounds ridiculous in the first go, who adds zucchini to pastas. I did and in the course made new discovery, a new way to make kids (or if you have grown up like my Mr. H) eat the green zucchini. Well this pasta tasted quite good enough to be served on the table even before I had put it into the oven, it already got a character & colour from the veggies, and flavour from the spicy sauce. On a second thought, however, I added a lot of mozzarella and some parmesan and slide it inside a hot oven for 12 mins and boy the recipe turned into a prized one, delicious bubbly cheese, slightly browned along the corners made the recipe really come around. It is not creamy, it’s rather a spicy take on the pasta with excess chilli flakes and garlic, the cheese is enough to just add a little body, a little taste too ofcourse . Those who want it to be creamier and cheesier must add extra white sauce before baking.
Ingredients (Serves 2):
- 1 cup Penne pasta, or even fusilli should be good
- 1 small zucchini, about 200 gms, sliced into thin half moons
- Aproxx 200 gms baby corns, sliced into thin rounds or ovals
- 1 small red or yellow pepper, cut into 1 inch chunky slices
- 2 red pulpy tomatoes, chopped
- 5-6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp red chilli flakes
- 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
- 2 tbsp thick tomato paste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup grated mozzarella
- ¼ cup Parmesan shavings
- Start by cooking pasta as per the instruction on the packet, cook until al dente, drain and keep aside.
- In a frying pan heat a tbsp of olive oil, add the chopped garlic and fry until golden, then add chilli flakes and give it a stir. Add chopped tomatoes and sprinkle the oregano, stir and reduce the flame to medium and leave on.
- Once the tomatoes have softened and the liquid has been released, add the tomato paste, add some salt and allow simmering, stirring occasionally until it reaches a thick saucy consistency.
- In another pan heat the remaining olive oil and tip in the chopped zucchini and baby corns. Stir fry for two mins to get some golden colour then lower the flame, dress it with salt and pepper and cook until the vegetables soften.
- Then add the chopped bellpepper and cook for another minute and remove from flame. Toss the cooked pasta into the veggies, add the prepared sauce and mix well. Adjust salt and pepper to taste and then mix the two cheeses, saving half the mozzarella.
- Transfer the mixture to a baking dish or use the same pan if it is oven safe, sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and drizzle some olive oil on top and bake at 200OC for 12-15 mins or until the cheese melts and it is slightly browned on top.
- Serve warm with some extras drizzle of olive oil and fresh oregano.
Dos and Don’ts:
- Do not over cook the pasta, make sure to keep it firm for it will cook further in the oven
- Add the cheese of your choice, infact some white sauce, say a table spoonful will be good if you like to have a creamy texture.
- I’d like to try the same recipe with broccoli and beans someday.