My daughter wanted to eat lasagna for dinner yesterday. I didn’t have the flat lasagna sheets and wasn’t in the mood of making one from scratch. As I was searching for an alternative I convinced her that I would make layered pasta with vegetable marinara sauce alternating with cheese. She hesitantly settled knowing if she protests she wouldn’t get even the alternative. To her surprise the baked pasta caseserole was very close to the taste that she had in her mind. My son who rarely eats pasta was enthusiastic with the baked version and was making a rule that I should be making baked pasta everyday. Yah right!!! With that much cheese, I’ll be making it everyday in his dreams and once in a while in reality.
Multi-grain Penne Pasta — 1 (14 oz box –I used Barilla)
Marinara sauce — 1/2 of 24 oz bottle
Garlic –5 medium pods (finely chopped)
Onion –1 (thinly sliced)
Red Bell peppers –1 (thinly sliced lengthwise)
Carrot –1 (cut in to medium bite sized chunks)
Zucchini –2 small (cut in to medium bite sized chunks)
Pepper Jack Cheese — 4 slices
Mozarella cheese –2 Tbsp
Oil —1 Tbsp
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Boil water for pasta as per the instructions given in the box. Add pasta and half cook them. If the cooking instructions call for 12 mins of cooking time, cook only for 6 mins and drain the water.
2. While the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a kadai, add chopped garlic, onion and sautee till onion is translucent. Add red bell peppers, carrot, zucchini and sautee only for 2 mins (Note: You can add any choice and combination of vegetables that you have in your pantry). Add marinara sauce and let it boil for 1 min and switch off the flame.
3. In an oven proof dish, start with a layer of pasta, top it with vegetable marinara sauce, and spread 2 slices of pepper jack cheese.
4. Repeat again with a layer of pasta, vegetable marianara sauce and finally with 2 more slice of pepper jack cheese and sprinkle with mozarella cheese. Cover the top of the dish with aluminium foil and bake in the oven for 10-15 mins or until the cheese is melted and starting to brown. Serve hot with your choice of bread or soup.
Sautee garlic, sliced onions until translucent.
Add red bellpeppers, zucchini, and carrot and sautee them for just a minute.
Add marinara sauce and combine.
Layer pasta, sauce, and cheese one after the another.
Top it with pepper jack cheese, and sprinkle mozarella cheese.
Bake in 350F covered with aluminium foil until cheese melts.
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