Pesto Pasta with Baked Ricotta and Roasted Vegetables

by Kris on February 9, 2011

So once again I find myself staring at the fridge trying to figure out what to make for dinner. Fresh pesto, a handful of veggies and half a tub of ricotta cheese were the ingredients I had to work with. Despite having a Costco sized bag of frozen chicken breasts in the freezer, I always seem to steer away from cooking them. I just really don’t enjoy handling raw meat and I think this is something I learned from my mother.

See, she is deathly afraid of birds. When I was a kid we took a family vacation to Disney World. My father insisted we buy the largest bag of popcorn man has ever seen and then gave it to my mum to carry while we went on the teacup ride. As my poor mum began to walk, popcorn tumbled out of the bag and a few seagulls decided to swoop in for a snack. Suddenly an entire flock joined them and my mum started to run. As she ran, more and more popcorn fell out of the bag, which attracted even more birds. Finally she tossed the popcorn over her head and made a break for it.

Anyway, later in life I started to notice my mother’s face when she would clean a turkey. It was as if Disney World was echoing through her thoughts as she ripped the innards of this animal apart. In a way it was like a cruel and unusual punishment allowing this woman to trim a bird. We don’t eat turkey during the holidays anymore.

So with that story in mind, enjoy this bird free meal!

1 zucchini thinly sliced
5 asparagus spears chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tsp. sea salt
1 garlic clove, minced
2-3 servings of angel hair pasta
2 Tbsp. fresh pesto
3 Tbsp. Ricotta cheese
1 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. Asiago cheese, grated
4 pitted Kalamata olives, finely chopped
1 Tsp. dried oregano
cooking spray
½ roma tomato, finely sliced
2 Tbsp. Fontina cheese, shredded
salt and pepper to taste

preheat oven to 350

In a bowl, combine sliced zucchini, asparagus, sea salt and minced garlic; drizzle with olive oil.  Marinate vegetables in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Spread vegetables onto a cookie sheet and bake for 5-10 minutes per side. Remove from oven, set aside and cover to keep warm.

Turn oven up to 400

Boil water and cook angel hair pasta for about 7 minutes, or until al dente. Drain and add 2 tbsp of fresh pesto. Stir to combine.

In a bowl, mix together ricotta, parmesan, asiago, olives and oregano. Set aside

Spray an oven safe dish with cooking spray. Make two mounds of pesto covered pasta. Top the pasta with ricotta cheese mixture, tomato slices, and fontina cheese.

Tip, for aesthetic purposes, a biscuit cutter helps to form mounds into perfect circles.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted.

To serve, arrange on a plate surrounded with roasted vegetables.

Serves 2

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