A One-dish Wonder

Sausage, zucchini, and feta casserole.

Sausage, zucchini, and feta casserole.

We had this dish for dinner on a recent evening and once again I am in awe of how such simple ingredients can meld together and produce such an outstanding meal.  It is a pasta casserole that combines pantry items with fresh vegetables for a hearty, family-friendly meal.  Any leftovers are even better the next day as the flavors have time to meld.

The edges of the pasta get brown and crispy with cheese.   Yum!

The edges of the pasta get brown and crispy with cheese. 

The recipe as I originally found it calls for 5 cups of thinly sliced zucchini as the main vegetable, but whenever I see an amount like that for one item I immediately think of it as 5 cups of ANY vegetable or mixture of vegetables.  Given that I had only 1/2 a zucchini on hand, I knew I would need to add other vegetables to make close to the quantity the recipe specified. So I added 6 stalks of asparagus, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces and a medium carrot thinly sliced, plus the onions called for.  These, the pasta,  and 1/2 pound of sweet Italian sausage were the main ingredients that I used to make this casserole.

The recipe makes about 6 servings, so for two of us, there was enough for another meal, and it reheat easily in the oven covered with foil so it remained moist.  My husband commented twice on how good it was and how much he enjoyed it.  With that kind of reception I can’t wait to make it again.

ZUCCHINI, SAUSAGE, AND FETA CASSEROLE

Yield:   6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2  1/2 cups uncooked ziti  (short tube-shaped pasta)
  • 8 ounces chicken sausage
  • cooking spray
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 5 cups thinly sliced zucchini ( about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 cups vertically sliced onion–about 1 large one
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, less sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tsp. all purpose flour
  • 1/2  cup ( 2 ounces )crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup ( 2 ounces ) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 400*F

2.  Cook pasta in boiling water 5 minutes, omitting salt and fat;  drain

3.  Remove casings from sausage.  Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add sausage to pan; cook until browned, stirring to crumble.  Remove from pan.

4.  Heat oil in pan.  Add zucchini, ( and any other vegetables you may be using), onion, salt, pepper, and garlic.  Cook 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally,

Sauteing all the vegetables together.

Sauteing all the vegetables together.

5.  Combine broth and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Add broth mixture to pan; cook 1 minute.  Combine zucchini mixture, pasta, sausage, and feta cheese in a large bowl  ( or pan pasta was cooked in );  toss well.  Spoon pasta mixture into an 11 x 7 – inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Sprinkle evenly with mozzarella cheese.

Mix pasta with vegetables and sausage in a baking dish.

Mix pasta with vegetables and sausage in a baking dish.

6.  Bake at 400*F for 20 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned.

Serve with a salad for a complete meal.

Serve with a salad for a complete meal.

SOURCE:   Cooking Light

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