This is the type of make-ahead casserole I love serving to company, especially if there is a vegetarian in the crowd. Your family will love it too, and you can easily make it in two 9-inch (2.5 L) square baking dishes to freeze one and enjoy the other now. A crisp green salad goes well with the smooth texture of the deliciously melted cheeses.
- 1 sweet red pepper, chopped
- 1 sweet yellow pepper, chopped
- 3 cups (750 mL) quartered mushrooms (½ lb/250 g)
- 2 zucchini, diced
- 1 small eggplant, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup (50 mL) olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- ½ cup (125 mL) chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh basil (or 2 tsp/10 mL dried)
- ½ tsp (2 mL) dried rosemary
- 5 cups (1.25 L) penne pasta
- 3½ cups (875 mL) meatless spaghetti sauce
- 3½ cups (875 mL) shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 cups (500 mL) diced Fontina cheese
- 1 cup (250 mL) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. In a large shallow pan, toss together the red and yellow peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, garlic and oil; spread out and roast in 450°F (230°C) oven for about 25 minutes or until softened, stirring once or twice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sir in 1/3 cup (75 mL) of the parsley, basil and rosemary.
2. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender but firm. Pour in 2 cups (500 mL) cold water; then drain well and let cool. Gently combine with spaghetti sauce, vegetables, mozzarella cheese, Fontina cheese and half of the Parmesan. Transfer to a greased shallow 12-cup (3 L) baking dish.
3. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and parsley. (Pasta can be prepared to this point, covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day, or frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw in refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before heating.)
4. Bake, covered with greased foil, in 375°F (190°C) oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer or until bubbly.
Nutritional information is based on 1/8 teaspoon added salt per serving.