Monday, March 29, 2021

Creamy Penne Pasta Bake

12 ounces penne pasta
1 medium zucchini
Olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
Sprinkle of dried dill or Italian herbs, to taste
Chopped fresh chives for topping

Ingredients for the sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons brown rice flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup gluten-free yeast
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon mild rice vinegar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, optional

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil the bottom of a large gratin dish or casserole and set aside
2.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and partially cook the pasta.
3.  Meanwhile wash, trim, and slice the zucchini into half-moons.
4.  Heat a skillet over medium heat and add a splash of olive oil. Add the zucchini and minced garlic, season with sea salt, ground pepper, and a dash or two of dried dill or Italian herbs. Stir to coat, and quickly stir-fry, just until the zucchini is tender-crisp. Don't overcook it. It will continue to cook in the oven.
5.  Start making the creamy pasta sauce. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan and add the butter. When the butter melts, add in the brown rice flour and stir with a whisk to make a paste. Heat it through, stirring and cooking the paste for a minute.
6.  Slowly add in the milk and whisk the milk with the paste to combine. Add in the yeast, garlic powder, sea salt, nutmeg, rice vinegar and mustard.
7.  Stir the sauce until it thickens and turn down the heat. If it gets too thick you can thin it with a dash of milk.
8.  When the pasta is done, drain it well, and drizzle it with a touch of olive oil. Pour the cooked penne into a large gratin dish or casserole. Add in the zucchini. Pour the sauce in and gently, very gently, combine the penne, zucchini, and sauce until the penne is coated. Sprinkle the top with fresh snipped chives.
9.  Cover the dish with foil. Bake the pasta in the center of a preheated oven for 20 minutes, until heated through and bubbling.

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