Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables

First off, I am lacking an important necessity today:  water.  

My mom texted me while I was at school, so I stopped at the gym on the way home, to a.) go to the gym, and b.) take a shower.  I wasn't planning on taking a shower there.  It is difficult when you don't have a towel.  My gym used to rent towels, but they don't anymore.  The girl at the desk was so nice, she gave me a roll of paper towels, saying that she had done it before.  It wasn't perfect, and I have no idea what kind of soap/body wash I washed my sweaty hair with, worked (actually, my hair looks pretty good).  

Anyway, now I am home and faced with the difficulty of making dinner without water.  Well, more making a dinner that isn't a pain in the butt to clean up without water.  I didn't quite succeed, but we will most likely have water by tomorrow, so a few things will just have to wait until then.  

On to the food, right?  Wednesdays are my night to cook, and if asked, my family always wants pasta.  When I was a vegetarian, one of my family's favorite dishes that I made was a version of this baked pasta dish from Giada on the Food Network.  With all the cheese involved in it, its not an option for me anymore.  But when I was thinking about what to make this week, I knew I wanted something easy that would make leftovers, and the baked penne popped into mind.  

Note the plastic dishes and leftover 'Happy Birthday' paper cups

The recipe I used to make was modified to begin with, and obviously veganizing it makes the recipe an even further cry from the original.  So, I'll post it.  

1 box whole wheat penne pasta (the brand I buy is 12oz)
2 cups prepared pasta sauce of choice (I buy an organic store brand)

1 block extra-firm tofu (I use Nasoya, and it is 14oz)
2 tsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp dried basil 
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of black pepper
2 tsp olive oil

2 red peppers
2 zucchini
2 yellow squash
1 yellow onion
salt & herbs/herbed salt

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  
2.  Set a pot of water to boil (I used bottled, from a big gallon jug, because of the water issue)
3.  Cut up all the vegetables into 1-inch pieces.  Place them on baking sheets (you'll probably want two, but I smash them all onto one), spray with olive oil, and sprinkle with either salt and herbs of choice, or an herbed salt.  Toss to coat (you may want to do this more than once, again, depending on how tightly packed your sheet(s) is(are).  Roast until done, turning once, about 20 minutes.  
4.  Put the pasta into the water that is hopefully boiling by now.  Cook no longer than the lowest time given on the package.
5.  Combine the tofu through olive oil in bowl (I used the baking dish I was planning on using to eliminate clean up), and squish everything together until it has reached a "ricotta-like" consistency.  
6.  When everything is done cooking, mix it all together, along with the pasta sauce, and put into a greased (I use cooking spray) 9x13 baking dish.  I saved a little bit of the ricotta to sprinkle on top.  
7.  Lower heat to 350, and bake for 25-30 minutes. 

Serves 6
Nutrition Information:  379.3 Calories;  7.7g Total Fat;  0.9g Saturated Fat;  0.0mg Cholesterol;  55.7g Carbohydrates;  12.9g Fiber;  21.5g Protein 

The picture makes it look like a serving is pretty small, but the baking dish is really almost full to the top, so its actually a big serving.  If you wanted it to be more of a side dish, you could obviously just reduce the serving size, but I was all about a "one-dish" today.

If you're super observant, you'll notice that the tofu "ricotta" is from VWaV and/or V'con, but I figured it was necessary.  It's pretty good, although I would add some crushed red pepper next time.  

As for the clean-up situation, the only thing that is waiting until tomorrow is the baking dish, and the pot I used to cook the pasta.  Not bad, right?  Plus, I have leftovers for the next few days.  

Now, I am thrilled because we have a Superintendent's Conference Day tomorrow, which means the kids have off, but we have to go in for some all day seminar thing.  It sounds like it is going to be hideously boring, but I get to wear jeans, and I get to go in an hour later!!  Time to catch up on some sleep!      


  1. that looks just amazing. simply divine!

  2. Looks like a fantastic dish! I don't think anyone would miss that cheese, either. :)

  3. Looks delicious!! (and I'm loving the paper plates and birthday cups;)

  4. This looks really delish, I love Giada! I used to watch her everyday =)

  5. Ok, so what happened to your water? I am going to try this pasta dish. I gave up cheese for lent among other things so I am excited to make it. I probably call you later. Have a great superintendents day... ps we have a two hour delay and i am completely ready to go :(

  6. hehe like Hannah said...who needs cheese...

    wow superintendents day....should I salute ya lieutenant Gina? hehe

    thanks for the compliment...I try to be funny...doesn't always work.tee hee.

    You know I actually cannot stand Giada...there is just soemething about this woman that drives me insane! Plus she makes food I cannot eat...I really do not like cheese:(

    I rather have Gina on blogger food network anyday!

    Have a super dooper good one:)


  7. Gina, I'm impressed. If we didn't have water, I'd say let's go out! Your pasta turned out beautifully, and I love the Happy Birthday cups. :)

    Hope you enjoyed that extra hour of sleep this morning. :)

  8. I hope you get your water back soon! For a second, I actually thought you baked un-boiled pasta! Giadas recipes are great and whats not to like about roasted veggies!

  9. wow that looks simply divine!!!!!

    and wow... no water.. thats tough... it was probably pretty funny having to dry off with paper towels though hahaha gotta keep a sense of humor about it!

  10. Yes. So good information for sharing.