September Supper: Vegetable Pasta Bake

By Jeannette Ordas of Everybody likes Sandwiches

I'm a huge fan of this gorgeous September we've been having here in Vancouver, but the season is definitely changing. The nights are getting chilly and it's time for slippers and tea. Which makes this hearty and wholesome dish a welcome part of an autumn menu.

Our farm share is now starting to wane but I wanted to work in as many vegetables as I could into dinner. I used what I had from our farm share - tomatoes, broccoli, zucchini, eggplant, green beans -  but you could add in what you've got on hand. I'm sure kale or some other bitter leafy green would be nice in this. 

I was planning on keeping this a vegetarian affair, but I knew that the husband would give me the evil eye if I set out another vegetable-based dinner, so at the last minute I slapped some spicy salami over top. Totally optional of course, but it was a tasty move. 

Vegetable Pasta Bake
1 small head broccoli, cut into small florets
1/2 onion, cut into large chunks
1 small summer squash or zucchini, quartered and sliced
1 small eggplant, diced
2 handfuls of green beans, cut into 1" lengths
2-3 large tomatoes, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon herbs de provence
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
salt and pepper

500 gram bag of penne or other short pasta

béchamel sauce
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
3 cups milk
1 cup strong cheddar cheese
salt and pepper
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

1 cup grated cheese (I used a blend of parmesan, cheddar and mozzarella)
slices of spicy salami (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Add vegetables to a large baking dish and pour over the olive oil and sprinkle on the herbs, salt and pepper. Toss with your hands until well mixed. Bake for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. 

2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside. 

3. Prepare the béchamel sauce. In a small pot, melt the butter over medium heat. When fully melted and frothy, add in flour and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Slowly pour in milk, about 1/4 cup at a time, whisking between each addition until smooth. Add in salt, pepper, nutmeg and cheese and stir with a wooden spoon until sauce is thick and creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. 

4. Pour the cooked pasta in with the roasted vegetables and give everything a stir. Pour the béchamel sauce, stirring everything until coated. Sprinkle cheese over top and scatter salami slices over top, if using. Bake for 25 minutes until golden and bubbly. 

Jan Halvarson


matimuk said...

a nice colored meal.. :) you´re living in vancouver.. I´ve been there very often as I was a child..beautiful city and adorable landscape..especially vancouver island..I love this place..have a nice day (night).. :)

donna!ee said...

yummo...thank you much for sharing! blest be ;D

Melissa@Julias Bookbag said...

This looks INCREDIBLE!!! totally gonna make!

Papus Eddyah said...

it looks tasty, thanks for sharing this :D

Unknown said...

It looks tasty and healthful, plus easy. I am going to keep it in my recipe book:)