Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Hermitage Zucchini Bake

Well hello everybody and THANKS so much to all of you who participated in the giveaway! We have a very happy winner and I'm excited to scheme up the next gift! As per usual, I haven't been doing a lot of cooking here in Australia because my mother in-law happens to be quite the chef! BUT- the other night she needed a little breather and I had free run of her fridge. Here's what I made with what I found and we thoroughly enjoyed it!* This dish would be FABULOUS as a vegetarian meal, which James and I will probably have it as when we make it at home... but because we had meat to use up and it was already thawed, I threw in a pound of ground beef as well.
*Chef's Note: we all REALLY loved it... except I thought it needed either more salt or more cheese. So beware of slight blandness. (although I seemed to be the only one who thought so)

You'll Need:
  • 1 pound ground beef (optional)
  • 1 box whole wheat pasta noodles, whichever you prefer, we used corkscrews
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, sliced and diced thinly
  • 4 zucchinis, thinly chopped and peeled if so desired
  • 5 large carrots, 2 thinly sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 roma tomatoes, 2 thinly sliced and 1 diced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  • handful fresh basil leaves
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • dollop of greek yogurt
  • mozzarella cheese, fresh or shredded
  • romano cheese, freshly grated
  • balsamic vinegar
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • black pepper
  • seasoned salt
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. (220 celsius) Place parchment paper over a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and spread half the zucchinis and carrots across the entire sheet. Drizzle with a little more olive oil, sprinkle with seasoned salt and pepper and bake for about 20 minutes, stirring around at 10 minutes to ensure even roasting. Remove from the oven and set those aside. (keep your oven on that same temperature)

 my awesome night's contribution to the compost pile!
While the roasting is happening, start to saute a little olive oil, garlic, salt and the onions in a large saucepan. Once the onions are translucent and the garlic is starting to smell marvelous, toss in the rest of the zucchini, carrots and celery.
Stir those around until they're getting well mixed with the garlic flavor. Then add the lemon zest and balsamic vinegar and let simmer.
Give the veggies about 5 minutes of simmering before adding the ground beef. Press it in and mix it around and season with lots of extra seasoned salt and pepper. Turn the heat up a little (but not much).
Once the meat is getting browned, add in the can of diced tomatoes with their juice, tomato paste and that one sneaky diced roma tomato. Shred up your handful of basil and toss it in. Let that cook and simmer for another 5 minutes, then toss in a dollop of greek yogurt and salt and pepper some more.
While the sauce is flavoring up, grate your romano cheese and drizzle a little olive oil on the bottom of a BIG baking casserole dish. Then boil your pasta noodles and let drain.
Here's where the fun part starts. Pour your noodles into the big saucepan and combine til you have a really gorgeous looking pasta. (you could stop there if you wanted but you'd really be missing out) ;) Pour in a thin layer of the pasta to the baking dish. Top with a little mozzarella cheese. Then add in a little more. Top with more mozzarella... etc etc etc until you get to the top layer. When you get to the top layer, top with more mozzarella cheese and then neatly cover the top with those roasted zucchinis and carrots. Then layer over those with your two thinly sliced roma tomatoes. Top with more mozzarella cheese and then your romano cheese. Drizzle with a little olive oil and top with lots of pepper. Then pop in the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and bubbly with crispy bits.
YUM!!! Set your table, pour the wine and serve with a side salad and garlic bread. Ta da! This would EASILY feed 6 people.
 isn't her table lovely?
Thanks everyone for checking in and I hope you're having a really great post election day! God Bless America! (and Australia, too) ;)

Here's to zucchini and lots of pasta bakes as we enter the chilly season.

1 comment:

  1. Babe, looks great! I'm sure you're having so much fun with the Rudders... tell everyone 'hello' & travel home safely! I love u!