7 DAY GARDEN VEGETABLE CHALLENGE! DAY 4, Baked Peas, Artichoke and Tomato Pasta Bake


As our garden bounty continues to pile up in the kitchen, we decided to take a week and make an effort to cook with a garden vegetable each day/night. Please join us on our journey!

This was a great pasta bake we whipped up with fresh garden peas, fresh basil and garden tomatoes with lots of other yummies. I couldn't stop eating it, it was so creamy and delicious. Feel free to use whole wheat pasta or regular. Also makes enough for left overs.

Baked Peas, Artichoke and Tomato Pasta Bake

Ingredients:
1 pkg, (16 oz) rigatoni, whole wheat or regular
3-4 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
5-6 oz. marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/4 cup cream sherry (can be left out, but gives it extra flavor)
6 oz. mushroom, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 can (14 1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes OR 3 medium fresh tomatoes, chopped
3/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
1 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 1/2 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (4 oz.)
1 1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella and Asiago cheese blend
14 oz. fresh or frozen peas (defrosted)


Directions:


In a 4 qt. sauce pot, cook pasta per package directions. The last 3 minutes, add the peas to the pasta to blanche. Drain, and keep warm.


Meanwhile, in 8 qt. sauce pot, melt butter and oil over medium heat. Add the onion and mushrooms and cook until tender and golden, 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook 3 minutes. Add tomatoes with their juices, basil, salt and pepper. Lower heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes. Add cream sherry, and cook 2 minutes.


In a bowl, mix cornstarch and 1/2 cup milk until smooth or blended. Add to tomato mixture in the pot. Add 2 more cups of milk, cream and 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese (reserve 1/4 cup for topping). Boil until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes or more.



Preheat oven to 400˚. In the sauce pot, add the pasta and peas to the cream sauce. Stir until blended.


Spoon pasta mixture into a 13" x 9" glass dish and fill 1/2 way, leaving more to top. Add a layer of Mozzarella/Asiago cheese (about 1/2 cup). Top with the rest of the pasta mix, then top that with the rest of the mozzarella (3/4 cup). Sprinkle the final cup of Parmesan cheese on top of that. Bake casserole until hot and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Serve warm.

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