don't get me wrong, this pasta bake is nothing short of indulgent. it is the ultimate comfort food... BUT it isn't the heaviest dish that you have ever eaten. it is filled with Italian roasted veggies, a mixture of shredded fontina + crème fraîche and some fresh greens [parsley + arugula]. you can choose to make it vegetarian but omitting the chicken sausage or even switch up the meat to whatever it is that you prefer. serve it hot [but still allow it to cool as the top layer of cheese traps in a lot of the super hot heat] alongside a salad. enjoy!!
cheesy zucchini pasta bake
yields: 6 servings prep time: 35 minutes bake time: 20 minutes
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup red onion, large chunks
2 yellow zucchinis, ½-inch thick rounds
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1 tsp. Kosher salt, divided
freshly ground black pepper
½ lb. pasta [large shells, macaroni or rotini]
2-3 sun-dried tomato chicken sausage, ¼-inch thick rounds*
1 tsp lemon zest
juice of 1 small lemon
½ lb. fontina**
1 cup crème fraîche***
¼ cup parmesan
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
¼ cup freshly chopped parsley
2 cups arugula
Preheat the oven to 400° and prepare a large baking sheet with tin foil.
In a large bowl, toss the zucchini rounds, chunked red onion, 1 T olive oil, Italian seasoning, ½ tsp. salt and pepper.
Toss until all of the veggies are full coated.
Spread the veggie mixture evenly onto the prepared baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes, flipping the zucchini half-way through.
While the veggies are roasting, cook the pasta in heavily salted water according to the package’s directions.
In a lightly-greased medium sauté pan, brown the sausage rounds for a couple of minutes on each side. Set aside.
*these sausages are fully-cooked, but I like to just brown them up a bit!
Drain the pasta and return to large pot it was cooked in.
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest + juice, ¾ of the fontina, crème fraiche, parmesan, parsley, nutmeg, remaining ½ tsp. salt and more pepper.
Pour the cheese mixture over the pasta and toss to combine.
Stir the arugula, roasted veggies and browned sausage pieces into the pasta.
Transfer the pasta to a lightly-greased 8x8 glass baking dish and top with the remaining ¼ of the fontina cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes – the cheese should be bubbly and golden brown.
Allow the pasta to sit and cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Top with more freshly chopped parsley and flakey salt and enjoy!
*I used Trader Joes Sun-dried Tomato Chicken Sausages; however, you can use any type that you’d like! Trader Joes has a ton of really delicious flavors
**I purchased a ½ lb. block of fontina from Trader Joes [since I was there] and shredded it up using my food processor. If you can’t find fontina, you can always substitute it for another type of semi-soft white cheese like gruyere, gouda, etc. TJ’s actually has a really great bag of shredded swiss + gruyere cheese blend that I get a lot as well.
***this can be found in the dairy section, along with the milk, yogurt, etc.