I used to LOVE baked ziti when I was a kid. Anytime I was at the mall ( which was a lot…I also loved shopping, what 13 year old girl doesn’t?), I’d go to Sbarro and get a portion of the ridiculously good, ridiculously cheesy baked ziti. How I stayed stick skinny as a kid? I do not know.
Now I am all grown up and I like things like vegetables and whole wheat pasta. So boring, I know. The other night I set out to make baked pasta but in a much healthier way. The idea came to me as I surveyed my fridge and basically just used what I had on hand. I knew that I loved corn with pasta, and luckily had one ear of fresh corn in the fridge. Cheese-wise, I only had gorgonzola, so I thought, Why not? Cheese is cheese. I also had leftover whole wheat orzo staring at me. A few thoughts and my recipe had formed.
I knew that this had to be delicious or my 13 year old self would have been extremely let down. I can’t do that to her. So I took out the butter (well, Earth Balance) and started with 1 tablespoon of butter in a pan. It got all melty, and then I added in chopped up sugar snap peas, some fresh corn, and then after a few minutes, the already cooked orzo pasta. Mixed it all up and added it to my dish:
I then added some crumbled gorgonzola on top:
And finally, added on the breadcrumbs. These were also whole wheat! I am so grown up, look at that. In order to make my 13 year old self happy, I did sauté these in about 1/2 a Tablespoon of butter before putting them on. Compromises, people.
Baked in the oven for ten minutes and there we had it!
Mixed it all up and we had a nutritious meal with some cheesy goodness:
By the way, this is so easy and can be changed in many ways. Add some different veggies, a fun shape of pasta, a different type of cheese, some shrimp or chicken, some pasta sauce. I really just used what I had on hand, but the concept is simple. Cook your pasta beforehand, add it to your veggies, place it all in an oven safe dish, top with cheese and breadcrumbs, and bake until cheese melts. So simple!
My 13 year old self said she was really proud. So long Sbarro.
Baked Orzo with Snap Peas, Corn and Gorgonzola
- 1 cup cooked orzo pasta (I used whole wheat)
- about 10 sugar snap peas
- 1 ear fresh corn
- 1.5 T butter or substitute (I used Earth Balance)
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I used whole wheat)
- 1 T cheese
1. Melt 1 T butter in a pan. Add in chopped up veggies and let it cook for a couple of minutes.
2. Add in cooked pasta to the pan and mix it all together. Add in a touch of Salt and Pepper.
3. Add mixture to an oven safe dish. Top with cheese.
4. Sauté the breadcrumbs in the remaining 1/2 T butter in a pan. Sauté for just a minute or so, until the breadcrumbs have soaked up the butter.
5. Add breadcrumbs to dish.
6. Bake in 350 oven for 10 minutes, or until cheese melts. Enjoy!