Sunday, February 20, 2011

Minestrone Bake

I realize I've been lacking on the photos of my finished products. I apologize. That happens because a) We eat it so fast I hardly have time to snap a finished picture b) refer to (a).
This is one of those times.

I absolutely love a hearty veggie pasta bake. Normally I'm not crazy about having to take so many steps in a recipe. My time is very limited. Remember, I'm not a chef. I am a mom with a lot to do. And I do like to share shortcuts and tips with you, but this is not one of those recipes. But I can assure you, that this recipe is worth the chopping and slicing and in the end you'll have a delicious pasta recipe that you'll use again and again!!

*I also like to add smoked sausage coins to this recipe, but if you like it veggied up, then omit any meat.

2 cups uncooked mini lasagna (mafalda) noodles (4 oz)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion (1 large)
1 cup sliced carrots, (2 medium)
2 medium stalks celery, sliced (1 cup)
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium zucchini or summer squash, quartered lengthwise and sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cans (15 oz each) red kidney beans, drained, rinsed
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes with Italian herbs, undrained
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup refrigerated basil pesto

Heat oven to 350°F. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package using minimum cook time.
Meanwhile, in 10-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and bell pepper; cover and cook 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until carrots are just tender. Uncover; stir in zucchini and garlic. Cook and stir 1 minute longer.
Place pasta in ungreased 2 1/2-quart casserole. Stir in carrot mixture, beans, tomatoes, 1/4 cup of the cheese, the salt, pepper and pesto. Cover casserole. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until hot in center. Top each serving with remaining cheese.

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