So I had this big plan to go out with a splash: snazzy pictures of this awesome (and easy) rigatoni, great big pearls of wisdom to pass on to you all, maybe a few fireworks. Apparently my laptop decided that I was getting a little full of myself and decided not to upload those snazzy pictures. And I realized that I've gained more wisdom here than I've given. So I'm stuck with just the fireworks.
Pretty awesome, huh?
Obviously I cannot leave you with fireworks alone. Despite my picture disaster, I'll leave you with this versatile and delicious baked rigatoni.
The recipe is very easy to make, especially if you have a sous chef who can help with chopping the vegetables, and the dish can be adjusted to met everyone's taste. I use eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, and spinach but you could use any combination of vegies (I'm thinking peppers and onions might be a good addition/substitution). You can also slim down the recipe by using fat free ricotta or crumbled firm silken tofu; using a single tablespoon of olive oil; and reducing the amount of ricotta.
Speedy Vegielicious Rigatoni
1 box dried rigatoni
1/2 of a small carton of ricotta
3/4 c. parmesan
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. basil
1 small eggplant, peeled and sliced into 3/4 in cubes
1 zucchini, cut in half moons
1 box sliced mushrooms
5 - 6 ounces baby spinach
1 jar spaghetti sauce (something tomato, without a lot of "stuff" in it)
1 28 - oz. can chopped tomatoes
About 5 oz of shredded mozzarella (more or less to taste).
salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat oven to 350.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet well. Add the oil and let it sit until it's shimmering. Add garlic spices and veg (except the spinach). Cook until most of the water has evaporated and the veggies are starting to brown a bit. When the vegetables are done, add the spinach and toss with vegies until the spinach wilts.
Meanwhile, cook your rigatoni for about 6 minutes. The past will not be done, but you actually don't want it to be.
After six minutes, drain the rigatoni and add ricotta and parmesan, stirring until cheese is evenly distributed.
Mix the spaghetti sauce and tomatoes together. Spread a little of that mixture in the bottom of a 9x11 pan. Top with half the vegies, more sauce, the other half of the pasta and more sauce.
Bake about 20 minutes. Test a piece of past to be sure it's done. Top with mozzarella and bake another 10 minutes.
In all seriousness, I've loved being a part of this warm and generous group of authors. While I'll be scarce here, I hope you all will visit me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AnnieKnoxAuthor ( where I'll be posting about the Pet Boutique Mysteries, the first book to be out in January '14, and, you know pets!), and at http://www.facebook.com/WendyLynWatsonAuthor (where I'll let you know about all my other writing projects.