Baked Ziti with Bell Peppers & Mushrooms
You can replace the light cream with yogurt whisked with a little milk and one egg in this recipe. To find some of the artisinal Greek products you'll need to make this, visit my online shop here, where you'll discover a host of lovingly curated Greek ingredients.
- ½ cup extra virgin Greek olive oil
- 2 yellow bell peppers seeded and finely
- 1 large red onion finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 pound / 450 g button mushrooms
- 3 red bell peppers roasted, seeded, and cut intil thin strips, or 6 roasted red Florina peppers in brine, drained and rinsed well
- 2 cups light cream
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- ½ cup chopped fresh flatleaf parsley
- 1 pound / ½ kilo rigatoni
- 6 ounces / 180 g grated parmesan or Greek kefalotyri cheese
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium saucepot and cook the yellow peppers and onions over medium heat for about 20 minutes, or until very tender.
Add the mushrooms and cook until wilted. Add the roasted red pepper strips. Stir in the garlic and cook for a minute or two to soften.
Season with salt and pepper. Add the cream and simmer until the mixture just begins to simmer. Stir in the lemon zest, thyme and parsley. Set aside.
Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil and preheat the oven to 350F/170C. Boil the rigatoni until al dente, drain, and reserve 2 cups of cooking liquid.
Toss the pasta, remaining olive oil, and vegetable cream sauce together in an ovenproof casserole. Add enough of the reserved pasta liquid to keep the mixture moist but not soupy. Sprinkle with parmesan or grated kefalotyri and bake for 15 – 20 minutes, or until set. Remove and serve.