Do you love a good pasta dish that’s topped with good flavourful sauce and veggies, it’s sooo good, you go back for seconds? Well I do. And I certainly do go back for seconds… ;)
Yes, this Pasta Rotto ~ translate that to ‘Broken’ Pasta from Italian ~ is really that good!
This beautiful rich pasta dish isn’t just a pasta dish! The difference and the reason I so love going with wheat-free pastas is that it just doesn’t give you that full/bloated feel you get from wheat pasta. Oh I remember those days, it didn’t matter what was served with it, if it was made from scratch at home or for $25 at a fancy Italian restaurant. Wheat pasta is just not that great and I couldn’t be happier that I’ve finally discovered that. For those of you ‘restricted’ read that ‘blessed’ with a diet change should be thrilled that you get the better piece of the pie – in this case, pasta!
Celiac Disease isn’t the only concern here, Gluten Sensitivity and GS awareness is on the rise. For the American population in general, 1.8m adults and 300,000 children have undiagnosed CD – people who, sooner or later, are going to develop vague symptoms of feeling generally unwell, for which they will be offered various drugs that are unlikely to make much difference. Ultimately, they are at higher risk of a range of chronic diseases. So if you still eat wheat and find yourself feeling unwell for any reason, it could be a general feeling of being tired all the time, or having frequent upset stomach or head aches ~ GS could be your reason.
So wheat-free, rice-based pasta it is then. But what about that delicious looking and sounding sauce topping you’ve got there? ~ you ask.
This is one of those recipes I call ‘cooking outside the pot’! All ingredients in this beautiful delicious sauce are roasted in a large pan in the oven. Easy one-pan recipe, easy clean up, no need to stand there over a pot watching your sauce so it doesn’t get burned, and watching yourself get ‘sprinkled with red blotches of sauce all over your clothes.
Roasting your ‘sauce’ is also terrific because it adds so much depth to your veggies, lets the flavours mingle and give you that richness only ‘oven-roasted’ cooking can give you. Simply put : delicious!
As you can see, all my veggies get placed on a large baking dish. I do it in two stages, the tomatoes goes in first, then the zucchini slices as I don’t want them to pick up the red colour of the tomatoes on them, plus, I like it if they seem a little under-cooked in a few places. One of the added experiences with this pasta dish is that it’s meant to be rustic ~ ‘broken’. Here’s the recipe:
a rustic pasta dish that’s rich and flavourful and still gluten-free and vegan
2 medium sized onions
2-3 cloves of garlic
6-8 garden picked tomatoes (if you’re lucky to have some)
2 teaspoons of dried thyme
2 teaspoons of dried basil
small handful of pine nuts, or 1/4 cup
sprinkle of sea salt to taste
fresh cracked black pepper
1 package of gluten-free, whole grain rice-based pasta
olive oil for cooking
fresh basil for plating
Oven-Roasted Tomato & Zucchini Sauce : (the tomato part) Preheat the oven to 430 C. Start with roughly chopping up the tomatoes, onions and garlic. Take a large baking dish (I like the enamel based not the aluminum pans – if you do have aluminum, cover with parchment paper first) and drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil, about 4-6 tablespoons should be good, until the bottom is covered. Spread out your chopped fresh tomatoes (with skins on), onions and garlic and cover with a lid or aluminium foil or parchment paper. Cook for about 15-20 minutes. Check on them and flip them over, move them around a bit so they cook evenly and are not getting burned. (be sure to use a hard spatula to scrub off some of the pieces if they do get stuck, leaving them and just sliding over the top will only make them burn more). Cook for another 10 minutes or so.
This is a good time to start boiling your pasta!
Pasta : Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1 tbsp of salt to it, mix it, and add the pasta to it, stir, bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat and cook as per instructions. You will move onto the sauce once you put it into the pot, but once it’s done cooking, pour out onto a large colander, and run with cold water, that’s to stop it from cooking a bit and also rinse out the starch so it will prevent it from sticking together. Drizzle it with light olive oil, give it a shake, still in the colander and keep aside to be served.
When your tomatoes are placed in the oven and the pasta is cooking, let’s get going with your zucchinis. I used a mandolin to slice mine. I like how thin they are, faster to cook and shape nicely on the plate when done. If you don’t have a mandolin, try slicing them as thinly as possible, and then giving them a slice through across to make smaller pieces. That way they will cook/soften faster even if they are a little thicker.
Remove your now roasted tomatoes from the oven, and spread out your sliced zucchinis, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper and pine nuts! This way, having the pine nuts on top will give them a little roasting of their own and boost the flavour. Give it another drizzle of OO (olive oil) you can even get your hands in there and ‘massage’ the zucchinis a little). They are quite gentle so the OO will help preserve the flavour of them so they don’t dry out. You do not need to cover this one. Pop back in the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes. Keep checking to see that they don’t get burned and just looked softened. It’s ok, if some pieces remain slightly under-cooked ~ a little ‘crunch’ from the zucchinis makes this dish really good.
Now remove the pan again, you’re done! Give this whole roasted awesomeness a good stir ~ it’s ready to be served on your linguini rice noodles ;D
Top with fresh basil! Oh my, so good! Enjoy.
So not everyone’s vegan at your house?
I sauteed some shrimp in butter with a little garlic over in a separate small pan, and then topped my Pasta Rotto with shrimp for a different take on the recipe. Everyone gets the ‘main’ pasta dish and a few exceptions/requests are made for others. Everyone’s happy in the end.
I do not eat shrimp, because shrimp is a very common allergen to some people. On my healing journey, I removed many foods that potentially could make me sick. Removing the top allergen foods like wheat, eggs, dairy and shrimp is a win-win, and you still don’t have to sacrifice on taste ;D
- Going with gluten-free (rice-based) pasta, no cheese or other dairy in this dish makes this pasta dish very healthy.
- Roasting the veggies instead of frying them is also a healthier cooking method.
- Topping a dish with a few favourite non-vegan ingredients once a while makes some family members happy about what they eat ~ adjusting can be a hard game sometimes when they don’t ‘have’ to eat what you eat!
- Slow and steady is the way to transition over to the healthier (gluten-free and vegan) side! ;D
Any more ideas how you could make a pasta dish healthier? Share your ideas in the comments. xo