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Baked Rotini pasta with roasted fennel

Recipe for Baked Pasta:

1. Tri color Rotini pasta (any kind of pasta works) – 3/4th pound
2. Any kind of veggies you like- I used beans, carrot and broccoli.
3. Marinara sauce
4. 2 cloves of garlic
5. Crushed red pepper
6. Grated mozzarella cheese and
7. Olive oil.

In a pot boil lots of water, add salt and add the pasta to it. Cook the pasta, till its about eighty percent done. Don’t cook completely, because we will be finishing the cooking in the oven.

Now take an oven safe pot, add the pasta, olive oil, garlic cloves (finely chopped), crushed red pepper, veggies and the marinara sauce. Toss it, till the pasta is well incorporated with the above ingredients. Sprinkle grated mozzarella cheese on the top, cover with an aluminum foil.

Preheat the oven to 350F and bake the pasta for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another five minutes, this helps the cheese to melt. Serve with roasted fennel (or any kind of side dish) accompanied with some soft drink or just cold water.

I steamed the beans for a minute in the microwave before adding them to the pasta and baking it.I do this because beans generally need more cooking.

Recipe for roasted fennel:

1. One medium sized fennel bulb
2. 2 tsps of olive oil
3. Crushed black pepper
4. Grated Parmesan cheese
5. Salt and
6. Chopped fennel fronds( fennel leaves)- 1tsp

The fennel bulb is pretty hard in texture. So I prefer cutting them long and thin. Refer the picture for the size. This helps the fennel to cook fast and it also significantly reduces the cooking time. So, it’s very important to cut them thin.

In a baking dish, arrange the fennel. Sprinkle salt, pepper, olive oil and parmesan cheese and ½ a tsp of fennel fronds. Mix well, cover with the foil and bake at 350F for about 20 minutes. Remove and check if it needs more cooking. Now add the remaining ½ a tsp of fennel fronds and serve. Roasting the fennel in the oven makes it soft, moist and sweetish in taste.


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