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GARDEN VEGGIE CHEESY RIGATONI CASSEROLE

Ingredients

1-pound dry rigatoni pasta

¼ cup olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

6 cloves garlic, chopped

2 cups eggplant, chopped into 1” pieces

1-pint mushrooms, sliced

1 large green bell pepper, chopped into 1” pieces

1 large yellow bell pepper, chopped into 1” pieces

2 cups zucchini, chopped into 1” pieces

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

3 teaspoons Dish off the Block Ciao Bella Spice Blend, divided

½ cup dry white wine

1 cup spaghetti or marina sauce

½ cup heavy cream

6-ounces fresh baby spinach leaves

1-pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1-pint whole milk ricotta cheese

1-pound fresh mozzarella slices

Fresh basil leaves

 

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cook the pasta to al dente according to package directions and set aside, but before you drain the pasta, reserve 1 cup of the starchy pasta water.

Heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the eggplant, mushrooms, peppers, and zucchini to the pan as you chop them, stirring frequently.  Cook for 6-8 minutes until the veggies are soft and lightly browned.

Add the salt, pepper, and 2 teaspoons of the Italian seasoning to the pan and toss to coat.  Add the white wine and cook until most of the wine is absorbed into the veggies.  Add the spaghetti sauce, heavy cream, and reserved pasta water to the pan.  Cook, stirring frequently, for 5-6 minutes more letting the sauce reduce and thicken.

Stir in the spinach, tomatoes, parmesan cheese.  Tossing in the sauce until the spinach is wilted.  Add the reserved pasta to the pan and toss to fully coat.

Prepare a 9” x 13” baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Pour the pasta mixture into the baking dish. Spread into one layer and distribute the veggies evenly in the pasta.  Make small ‘wells’ in the pasta every couple of inches and place large dollops of the ricotta in each well, pushing it gently into the pasta.  Top with the mozzarella slices and sprinkle the top with the remaining teaspoon of the Italian seasoning.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned, hot, and bubbly!  Garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve with more parmesan on the side for sprinkling.

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