While on the road back from another soccer game that lasted way past our usual dinner time, I feel happy. No dinner rush tonight, since a roasted veggie rice bake is awaiting us. A meal I could easily prepare ahead this afternoon. Earlier in the day I had time to roast zucchinis and eggplants, prepare the wine infused risotto filling and finish layering the casserole with tomato sauce and fresh cheeses like mozzarella and Pecorino. Now the sun is slowly setting behind the mountains and we are finally at our destination, home. Everybody is tired and hungry, showers are running and homework started. The roasted veggie rice bake comes out of the oven. The tomato sauce is bubbling, the cheesy topping golden brown and the bakes’ mouthwatering smell is filling the house. It is almost dark outside until we finally sit down as a family to share our day and this meal. Mr. Rockies quickly goes back for a second helping which is an exception. Welcome roasted veggie rice bake as the newest addition to my kitchen’s recipe repertoire!
|Roasted Veggie Rice Bake||
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 cup olive oil
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1 cup arborio rice
- Pinch of saffron
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 1 cup vegetable broth or water
- Kosher salt
- 3 large organic eggplants (about 3 pounds), cut crosswise into ¼-inch rounds, (Kirsten also used zucchinis)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups store-bought organic tomato sauce (such as marinara), divided
- 1 pound fresh Buffalo mozzarella, cut into ¾-inch cubes (about 2 cups), divided
- 1 cup coarsely grated Parmesan/ Pecorino (4 ounces), divided
- Preheat the oven to 425 F.
- Distribute sliced zucchinis and eggplants evenly onto two rimmed baking sheets. Sprinkle with 1 cup olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for a total of 20-25 minutes. Turn the vegetables once, after 12 minutes, and remove them from the oven when they are done roasting.
- In the meantime start the rice filling.
- In a large sized pan cook the onions with the left over olive oil until softened on medium heat. Add the rice and cook for about 3 minutes while stirring. Add the saffron and wine. Reduce wine slightly and add the broth. Season with salt and pepper if necessary. Cover the pan with a lid and cook until the rice is al dente, about 6 minutes, don’t over cook!
- Let’s start layering.
- Cover the bottom of a 13x9x2 baking dish with 1 cup tomato sauce. Sprinkle evenly with ⅓ of mozzarella and Parmesan. Layer half of the roasted veggies on top. Make sure the veggies overlap and no sauce peaks through. Spread the rice mixture evenly on top. Sprinkle with ⅓ of both cheeses and add half of the remaining tomato sauce. Layer with the rest of the roasted vegetables, cover with the rest of the tomato sauce and sprinkle evenly with remaining cheeses.
- Cover the baking dish with foil.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes (longer if you prepared your casserole ahead and kept in the fridge) or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted.
- Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes or until the cheese topping is golden brown.
- Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Adapted from bonappetit.com.