Hello! Welcome to Kelly’s Kitchen. I am happy you’re here today. As the summer vegetables start to hit the markets, I wanted to share a recipe that is the perfect solution for when you can’t eat the veggies fast enough. This is an issue for Alex and me even though we are cooking at home everyday. This week I did my usual check in on all the veggies in my fridge drawers and noticed my yellow zucchini was in a “use it or lose it” situation. Ditto for my garlic and homegrown oyster mushrooms. My favorite thing to do with any and all veggies that are about to turn is to roast them. Then I can either use them for a stock or sauce. Today we are going to make a light, fresh roasted veggie tomato sauce for baked rigatoni. But this isn’t your typical baked rigatoni, we are going to layer it, like a lasagna. Here’s how to make baked rigatoni.
Let’s start with the veggies. I have two medium-sized yellow zucchini, a Vidalia onion, half a bulb of garlic and a bunch of carrots. But use what ya got! Bell peppers? Great option! Leeks? Yes please. Broccoli? Cauliflower? Toss ‘em in!
Chop all the veggies into large chunks. I find it’s easier to get the garlic out of its skin after it’s roasted, so I leave the skins on to roast.
Spread the veggies out on a large sheet tray, drizzle with a healthy amount of olive oil. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning or whatever dried herbs you have. I have thyme, parsley and crushed red pepper. Sprinkle a few big pinches of kosher salt. I am eyeballing all of this, and you can too! it’s easy, you just want an even distribution of whatever herbs and spices you like. You will season- to-taste this sauce at every step of the way, so you can make adjustments as you go.
Pop the sheet tray in a 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes. Turn the tray halfway through.
Why didn’t I put my mushrooms in with my veggies? Well, this sauce gets pureed and I want my mushrooms to retain their texture and flavor in a more prominent way. So I am sautéing my mushrooms separately to add as a layer to my baked rigatoni. You’ll see, it’s gonna be good. You can do your mushrooms like this too, or you can roast them with the rest of the veggies and make them part of the sauce.
For the mushrooms, I sautéed them in about a tablespoon of olive oil (again, I just eyeballed it). A healthy sprinkle of kosher salt and when they have soaked up the olive oil and started to brown, deglaze the pan with about one tablespoon of dry white wine. I eyeballed the wine too; it’ll depend on how many mushrooms you are using. You can see I don’t have that many, maybe about a cup’s worth. Once the wine has bubbled and dissipated, and your mushrooms have developed a little browning, they’re done! Pull them off the heat and set them aside.
After about 40-50 minutes in the oven, or when your veggies have developed a lot of nice, even browning, pull them out and set them aside to cool slightly. Don’t forget to fish out your garlic cloves and pop their skins off.
For my tomatoes, I am using one (28 oz) can of whole San Marzano tomatoes, but you can use whatever kind of canned tomato you have. I want this sauce to be more vegetable forward, thick and chunky, so I am only using one can. But if you like your sauce to be more tomato-based and thinner, use two 28 ounce cans of tomatoes.
If you strain the tomatoes you will be able to easily control how much liquid goes into your pureed sauce. I ended up using all the tomato juice.
As I mentioned at the start, I am going to layer this bake like a lasagna rather than a typical rigatoni bake, which fully mixes the rigatoni with the sauce before it bakes. my mushrooms will be their own layer; and I found a can of artichoke hearts which will serve as another layer.
Put all of your roasted veggies in a food processor with the tomatoes (You may have to do it in two batches) and puree until you reach a thick chunky consistency. At this point you can decide whether to add in the juice from the tomato can. I added the juice and got a nice salsa consistency.
Pour this mixture into a large saucepan or pot and add ¼ to ⅓ cup dry red wine. Taste your sauce, feel free to add more salt. I added another healthy pinch of kosher salt. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
Meanwhile get your pasta water boiling and give it a generous tablespoon of salt. I used a 12 ounce bag of rigatoni. Cook your pasta for about half the time the package recommends. Rigatoni typically boils for about 12 minutes for al dente, but for this we want to go just shy of al dente so that it won’t get overcooked in the oven. I let mine go for about 7 minutes. You can test it by slicing a rigatoni in half, you’re looking for it to retain an opaque white ring around the center.
While my pasta and sauce were cooking on the stove, I quartered my artichoke hearts.
I have my assembly area prepped with a 9″x12” casserole dish, my sauce, drained rigatoni, mushrooms, artichoke hearts and fresh mozzarella. You can use low moisture shredded mozzarella cheese if you like, your bake will just take less time to get the cheese to melt and brown.
A note on the prep: I have a ceramic baking dish that never gets sticky, but if your baking dish has a history of getting stuff stuck, you may want to lightly grease the dish with oil.
Like a lasagna, you will start with a layer of sauce. Then rigatoni, then more sauce.
Then I did my layer of quartered artichoke hearts.
A layer of cheese, then another layer of rigatoni.
Now, I love for mushrooms to get crispy edges so I am doing mushrooms as my top layer with a little more cheese on top to give the mushrooms some protection.
Cover your casserole and pop that puppy in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. At around the 20 minute mark, check to see if the sauce is bubbling up a little. If it is, remove the cover and bake for 20 more minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and browning. If it’s not bubbling at 20 minutes, keep it covered and check it every few minutes until it is, then carry on with the uncovered baking.
Wow. Wow. Wow! She’s gorgeous!
Let’s plate it up with some fresh basil leaves. You can go with fresh rosemary or oregano too. Grate on the parm, crank a few turns of fresh ground pepper and and there ya go!
Baked rigatoni is just one way to use a roasted vegetable tomato sauce. This sauce is fresh and light – perfect for summer. It’s vegetarian and you can go one further by using vegan cheese, if you like. Or substitute the rigatoni with cauliflower gnocchi to make it gluten free. This sauce is great as a bruschetta-style topping for bread; I think it would be fantastic mixed with wild rice for stuffing bell peppers. Make up a batch and freeze it for later!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Chop Vegetables into large chunks and spread evenly on a sheet tray
Drizzle with olive oil, season with dried herbs and salt
Roast for about 40-50 minutes, until browned
Add vegetables and tomatoes to a food processor and puree to desired consistency.
Transfer mixture to a stock pot or large sauce pan and add 1/4 to 1/3 cup dry red wine. Season to taste with kosher salt
Bring to a boil and reduce heat, let simmer for about 15 minutes.
I used this sauce for a baked rigatoni, which took a 12 ounce bag of rigatoni.
is our 40s+ fashion & food contributor. She posts a Daily Look on Tuesdays, writes about Fashion on Thursdays, joins Beth for Fridays with Oscar and shares a new recipe Sunday evenings.
She’s 47, 5’0, and a petite 0/XS.
Kelly also has a food blog called Djalali Cooks, which you can find by clicking the world icon below.