Pasta Pie with Greens

Pasta Pie with Greens

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This is an interesting way to serve pasta. I adapted this from a Smitten Kitchen Recipe. This is great as a main meal with a salad or as a side dish.

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Ingredients

2 packages of Spinach with stems removed (you could also use kale or swiss chard)
1 pound dried spaghetti or cappellini
1 1/2 cups milk
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons water
2 to 3 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 Cup aged pecorino cheese, shredded, divided
1 Cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 Cup grated parmesan
1/2 Cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon paprika
1 pat of butter

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Directions

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Butter a (or use a non-stick) 9-inch springform pan. Wrap the outside of the springform, focusing on the places where the ring meets the base, tightly in aluminum foil. Set aside. This is very important as there will be some leakage from the pan and it will make a mess if you don’t!

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add pasta to boiling water and cook until (this is also important) 2 minutes shy of done, so very al dente, as the spaghetti will continue cooking in the oven. Drain well and let cool slightly.

In a frying pan add the 2 tablespoons of water and cook spinach over low heat until wilted. Drain well. I use a mesh strainer and press all the water out.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs and milk together with salt and pepper. Stir in all but 1/2 cup of each cheese and spinach, if using. Add pasta and toss to coat.

Pour into prepared springform and sprinkle remaining cheese and bread crumbs on top. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling and a knife inserted into the center of the pie and turned slightly will not release any loose egg batter into the center. If the top of your pie browns too quickly before the center is set, cover it with foil for the remaining cooking time.

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Baked Orzo & Eggplant Casserole

Baked Orzo & Eggplant Casserole

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Not everyone is a fan of eggplant. My husband is not.. however I sneak eggplant into our meals all the time and he really enjoyed this dish. This was great as a main meal but could be a great side dish as well. I started with a recipe from the Smitten Kitchen and tailored it to my taste and what I had in the pantry. I would like to try this with roasted tomatoes but my pantry was out so I used canned tomato sauce.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large eggplant, cubed
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 medium onion, finely sliced
  • 8 ounces orzo, a rice-shaped pasta, rinsed
  • 1 ounce can of Tomato sauce (I used Hunts with garlic, basil & oregano)
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped (you can also use dried)
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest or more to taste, up to the zest of a whole lemon (optional)
  • 8 ounces shredded mozzarella (and extra for the top)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan, grated

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DIRECTIONS

Sprinkle your eggplant generously with salt and let it drain in a colander or on paper towels for 30 minutes. I used this time to get the rest of my ingredients ready. After 30 minutes, rinse it well and pat it dry on towels.

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the oil and once the oil is shimmering, add the eggplant. Fry for 8 minutes, stirring pieces occasionally. Using a slotted spoon or spatula, transfer them to paper towels to drain. Add celery and carrots to remaining oil and cook for 3 minutes before adding onion. Cook together for 5 more minutes on medium heat. Stir in the orzo and tomato sauce and cook for two minutes more. Off the heat, add the oregano, mozzarella, parmesan, tomatoes, fried eggplant, lemon zest, 1 teaspoon table salt, black pepper and the stock; mix well.

Sprinkle with additional Mozzarella cheese. Bread crumbs on top might be good also.

Transfer mixture to a 2 Quart ovenproof baking dish. Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes, then bake 20 minutes without the foil.