Home / Bachelor's Room / Baked Veggie Pasta Shells
6 August, 2015

Baked Veggie Pasta Shells

Posted in : Bachelor's Room, Baker's Hut, From TTR Kitchen, Vegetarian Bakers on by : Isha K Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Baked Veggie Pasta Shells…!! Really don’t know what name I should give to this thing which I made yesterday. It is quite similar to lasagna, I feel, not exactly, but it was looking tempting and tasted yummy.  Actually, there were some veggies in my refrigerator, which I bought to make Chinese, but I completely forgot them due to certain things. I was so bored of cooking the regular food we consume in our daily lives, that inspired me even more to make something different. First, I decided to make stir fried veggies, some Indo-Chinese style, but then putted some more ideas and created this! *Refreshed* 🙂

Pasta_1

So in this particular thing, I’ve used many veggies and Beet Root too, because of its dark red color (certainly my favorite), it added that look to the whole dish. I’ve used the processed cheese and cheese spread, as it was available in my kitchen at that particular point of time. If you want, you can use mozzarella + Parmesan cheese combo, it would be more delicious and cheesy then! This is an open recipe totally, you can add your favorite veggies like broccoli, mushroom or you could also add olives, jalapeno for a much more Italian feel. This dish is layered with bread sheets, cheese, shell pasta, goodness of vegetable mixture and some Indo-Chinese sauces, which is an easy process. Just set the layers, fill the mixture, grate some cheese, bake it and voila! A great exotic meal to have, end it with your favorite dessert from Sugary Ride section of TTR, then do not forget to exercise also. 😛

                                                                    Pasta

Equipments Required 8 inch oven proof baking tin, an oven

Makes for 4, or you can eat this yummy thing alone in parts. 😛

Preparation Time- 20-25 minutes

Baking Time- 20 minutes

Temperature- 180ºC or 350ºF

Ingredients-

For Sauce-

1. Ginger- 1 inch, finely chopped

2. Garlic cloves (a lot :D) – 12 cloves, crushed then finely chopped to get the real flavor and aroma.

3. Capsicum- 2 medium, julienne

4. Carrot- 1, julienne

5. Cabbage- 1 small, shredded

6. Corn Kernels, 1/2 cup, boiled

7. Beet Root, 1 medium, julienne

8. Cottage Cheese- 200 grams, sliced

9. Tomato Puree- 2 Tablespoons

10. Tomato Ketchup- 2 Tablespoons

11. Green Chilli Sauce- 2Tablespoon

12. Red Chilli Sauce- 1 tablespoon

13. Soya Sauce- 1 teaspoon

14. Vinegar- 2 teaspoons

15. Green Chilli– 1

16. White Pepper Powder- to taste

17. Salt- to taste

18. Oregano- 1/2 Teaspoon

19. Olive Oil- 2 Teaspoons

As I’ve mentioned earlier, this recipe has no limits of ingredients, you can add or subtract them according to your taste preference. You can also experiment new things. Do share here 🙂

For Layering-

1. Regular size Bread Slices (Brown or White)– 8 Nos.

2. Pasta Shells – 250 grams (I used wheat based pasta, it is better than the refined ones.) You can also replace shells with penne, spiral, elbow, any shape you like.

3. Cheese Spread- Plain flavor

4. Processed Cheese Cubes- 4 (You can use your favorite cheese also in any quantity you want. Use Mozerella+Parmesan Combo. Because it melts more than the processed one, you will get the feel of Dominos Cheese Burst 😉 nom nom nom

5. Olive Oil- 1 Tablespoon

6. Black Pepper Powder, freshly ground

Method-

Preparing the Veggie mixture-

sauce_tutorial

1. Wash all the veggies properly, and strain the water completely. As we have to stir-fry the veggies, then the water should be completely drained out. Read more about stir-frying technique here in my recipe of veg noodles.

2. Heat oil in a wok, add finely chopped ginger and garlic. Saute for a few seconds, do not fry them much till brown color. The main thing is to flavor the oil.

3. Add all the veggies together and fry on high-heat, if in any case, there is some water left, dry it completely on high flame. Do not soften the vegetable. There should be a proper crunch of veggies you should get when you eat this.

4. Add cottage cheese (paneer) and saute.

5. Now add tomato puree, tomato ketchup, Green Chilli sauce, Soya Sauce, Red chilli sauce, chilli and vinegar. Saute.

6. Add white pepper powder, oregano and salt. Mix properly

7. Now in a small bowl, mix cornflour with 2 tablespoons of water and pour into the mixture, mix well, it will start thickening and binding the mixture together.

8. Sauce mixture is ready.

 Boiling the Pasta-

Boiling_Pasta1. Take plenty of water in a deep pan, heat and bring it to boil.

2. Add shells, few drops of oil and around 1 tablespoon of salt. Stir.

3. Let it simmer till it is cooked 3/4th. It takes 5-8 minutes. Keep stirring occasionally. Shells take time to soften.

4. Strain and rinse with cold water. Do not rinse much, just a small shower.

General Tip- Never Bathe your pasta with too much oil, too much oil prevents sauce and pasta to incorporate together. Do not overcook pasta, or else it would be mushy. Do not keep the boiled pasta for a long time also. Cook pasta until it is al dente, i.e. firm to the teeth yet tender.

Another key to perfect pasta is to use a large cooking pot and plenty of water; this will stop the pasta from sticking and will also ensure every inch of pasta will be cooked though. Don’t forget to add plenty of salt to the cooking water before adding the pasta, good pasta is almost never has salt in it so this is the only time it can be seasoned. Some people add a little olive oil to the cooking water to stop the pasta from sticking and while that works for larger pasta like lasagna it is not necessary if you use a large pot, plenty of water and remember to stir the pasta.

Layering the Pasta & Baking-

Layering_Baking

I’ve done the double layering, if you are using small tin, you can complete this in single layer.

1. Grease your baking tin with butter. Remove the sides of the bread. Apply Cheese Spread on four bread slices and place in your tin.

2. Sprinkle black pepper powder on bread.

3. Now place some cooked pasta. Leave some for the next layer.

4. Sprinkle some olive oil and black pepper powder.

5. Grate some cheese on pasta.

6. Apply the above prepared veggie sauce mixture. Leave some of the final layering.

7. Repeat the steps and on the top, grate cheese.

8. Bake at 180ºC or 350ºF for 20 minutes in a preheated oven. My OTG ditched me at the last moment, It is so sad when you love baking so much and your oven does not work properly, but I have a microwave which I only use to reheat my food, for the first time I used it for baking. So if you are using a microwave, bake it in the convection mode only, not micro+convection, at same temperature for the same amount of time.

I didn’t feel to add salt in any step, because the pasta was seasoned well with salt while boiling, cheese also has salt content in it and we have already added the salt in the veggie mixture, so it came out perfect. Just keep a check on the salt.

Serve hot cheesy and gooey pasta. It is a great combination of so many ingredients, you will get the crispiness of bread, crunchiness of veggies and cheesy pasta together with a dash of freshly ground black peppercorns.

BakedveggiePasta

Read some more such recipes with the goodness of vegetable in Indo-Chinese Corner of the blog. And also do not forget to read the health benefits of Carrot and capsicum here.

You can also make Lasagna with the above recipe, instead of bread and shells, use lasagna sheets to stuff.

Facts and Health-

While we do think of pasta as a culturally Italian food, it is likely the descendent of ancient Asian noodles. A common belief about pasta is that it was brought to Italy from China by Marco Polo during the 13th century. But some believe that he ancient Italians made pasta much like we do today. Although Marco Polo wrote about eating Chinese pasta at the court of Kubla Khan, he probably didn’t introduce pasta to Italy. In fact, there’s evidence suggesting the Etruscans made pasta as early as 400 B.C. The evidence lies in a bas-relief carving in a cave about 30 miles north of Rome. The carving depicts instruments for making pasta – a rolling-out table, pastry wheel and flour bin. And further proof that Marco Polo didn’t “discover” pasta is found in the will of Ponzio Baestone, a Genoan soldier who requested “bariscella peina de macarone” – a small basket of macaroni. His will is dated 1279, 16 years before Marco Polo returned from China.

Ufff!!! Who cares about the discoveries, we only love relishing it!! 😛  But thanks to the one who invented this versatile thing.

Typically, pasta is a noodle made from an unleavened dough of a wheat flour or semolina mixed with water and formed into sheets or various shapes, then cooked and served in any number of dishes. It can be made with flour from other cereals or grains, or eggs may be used instead of water (in egg pasta). Pastas may be divided into two broad categories, dried (pasta secca) and fresh (pasta fresca). It comes in many shapes and size. There are more than 600 pasta shapes produced worldwide.

Pasta is mostly starch because it is made of flour. It also contains other minerals and vitamins either directly from wheat or from artificial enrichment. Whole wheat pasta contains considerable amounts of minerals such as magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, zinc, selenium and manganese. Pasta also contains a small amount of sodium, and if made without eggs has no cholesterol. Pastas also contains vitamin B, which includes folic acid and niacin.

The amount of protein in pasta depends on the type of flour used to manufacture it. If it is made from durum wheat, the pasta contains protein and gluten. Pasta contains protein comprising six of the nine essential amino acids. If the pasta is made with eggs, it contains more protein.

Remember to stay away from mass-produced cheap pasta, you will just be disappointed come dinnertime. For fresh pasta look for the expiration date on the package and take a good look at the pasta.

So cook it with your favorite sauce, herbs, spices or just try this combination what I’ve tried today or create something new and share with me. :)

Stay Healthy and Happy Baking!

 

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