Tender pieces of mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes, and olives hide inside toothy rigatoni in this easy-to-make (and vegetarian!) Rigatoni Mediterranean Casserole!
It’s absolutely frigid outside and I don’t like it one bit.
The only good thing about this kind of weather is I feel like it gives me a pass to indulge in as must cheese and pasta as my heart desires.
Enter this ultra-comforting + unbelievably easy Rigatoni Mediterranean Casserole.
It really doesn’t get much better than this. Let me tell you why you need to make this RIGHT NOW.
- It’s easy. If you can boil water and chop vegetables, you can make this pasta casserole.
- It’s comforting. There’s really nothing like scooping up a serving of gooey, cheesy casserole, is there?
- It’s veggie loaded. I’m not saying that cheese is healthy or anything, but I AM saying that vegetables offset cheese. If you eat both cheese AND vegetables, it’s like you ate nothing at all. (Please don’t take nutritional advice from me).
I’m usually kind of turned off when I hear the word “casserole,” because for me it conjures up ideas of cream-of-yuck soups, canned tuna, and mystery meat.
I’m a person who likes to know exactly what is in their food, and I’m guessing that you are, too. There are no “mystery” ingredients in this dish, just plain old pasta, vegetables, seasonings, and cheese.
I even topped mine with a few leaves of fresh basil (grown on my window sill, thank you very much!) which add a lovely freshness to this otherwise rich dish.
I just adore cooking with rigatoni. It makes me really happy when little bites of yum get squished up inside of the pasta. It’s important to enjoy the little things in life, right?
Here’s Your Recipe!
- 1 pound uncooked rigatoni pasta
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 cups chopped brown mushrooms
- 2 cups sliced sweet onion
- 1 pound zucchini, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 6 scallions, sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup halved and pitted kalamata olives
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (undrained)
- 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute for 2 minutes until golden. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add another 2 teaspoons of oil to the pan and add the onion; saute for 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the garlic, scallions, basil, olives, spices, salt, and pepper. Cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the tomatoes and let the mixture come to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes. Return the mushrooms to the sauce and stir well.
- Transfer the cooked pasta and sauce to an oiled 13 x 9 baking dish and toss well. Stir in the mozzarella and top with the Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a further 5 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.
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