Vegetable PASTA bake YOGURT sauce GRATIN

Fresh garden vegetables celebrate summer with a smothering of melting cheese.
An egg and yogurt sauce blanket its entirety to a bubbly gratin casserole.

If only the garden-to-table would be sustainable throughout the year.
Our reality is that we are restricted to these very few months.

Time well spent in our gardens or neighbourly markets bring a twinkle in my eye.
I actually get quite emotional when I realize how fortunate we are to seed and pick such gems.

The majestic summer squash plant blooms into pretty flowers before surprising us yet again.
This time with the long awaited versatile zucchini ready for our handling into delicious meals.

Our garden is showing it's tired facade; one that's getting itself ready to retire.
Soon Autumn will come knocking and scenes like these will become a distant memory.

Now, for some of the cooking that's been done in my small cucina ;o)
Enjoy making this dish with whatever you have on hand, especially when it comes to vegetables.

Vegetable Pasta bake 
YOGURT sauce gratin

note: this recipe can be simplified even further by... 
using leftover pasta with some tomato sauce.
serves 4 persons

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(American/ Metric measures)

. 2 cups (200g) cooked pasta of choice 
[about 1 cup (100g) of uncooked pasta]
. 3 cups (750ml) sautéed, mixed vegetables *
. 1 cup (250ml) fresh tomato, chopped with seasoning...
or Tomato sauce (homemade preferred)

. 3/4 cup (75g) mild cheese,** shredded 
. 1/4 cup (25g) Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

. 2 large eggs
. 1 cup (250ml) plain yogurt (2% or more)

* Vegetables sautéed for this recipe were:  sweet onion, leeks, red bell pepper, thinly sliced, zucchini and a touch of finely zested lemon.

** Some mild cheeses used were:  'Mozzarella' , 'Friulano' , 'Fontina'

. Pre-heat the oven to 350F/180C/Gas4.
. Position rack in the center of the oven.
. Lightly oil a shallow, medium size casserole oven-proof dish.  Set aside.

. In a large bowl, mix together the cooked pasta together with the mixed vegetable preparation that was already pre-cooked.  To it, also mix in the tomato sauce if not already added at the vegetable cooking stage.  Note: At this point, taste to make sure there are no seasonings missing.  Some to keep in mind are a few pinches of dried Basil, Marjoram, sea salt and granulated garlic powder.
. Place the mixed pasta and vegetables with the tomato sauce into the prepared oven-proof dish.  Add the cheeses over the surface of the mix.  Set aside.
. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and the yogurt.  Pour this mix evenly over the casserole dish.
. Bake  for 35 minutes or until the gratin surface is lightly golden and bubbly.
. Serve after the dish has rested for about 10 minutes.  Enjoy.

Realizing how busy Summer has kept us spinning through joyful moments, most of us still have to make the time to eat well.  Eat well we shall, especially with such freshness delivered through our thriving gardens.

Looking forward to sharing a few more summer delicacies.

Have a lovely week everyone.

Flavourful wishes,

Comments ... ??? ... or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at:  foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com

Here are related recipes that may be of interest:
- Pasta Al Forno My Italian version of 'Mac and Cheese'
- Stuffed pasta SHELL with a vegetable cheese mix and a rosé tomato sauce

My Mint Mojito and roasted ALMOND snack

Loads of perky fresh mint, lime and aged rum blended well with a touch of sweetness.
Egg white based, sweet and salty roasted almonds made a perfect partner.

As busy as we can get catching up on weekend chores...
we do try to enjoy interesting corners of our city of Montreal.

This tiny part of de Castelneau street, East (near little Italy) has turned on its charm.

That day we were received with a generous bouquet of mint from my mother-in-law's garden.
I'm still in awe at how fast these plants furnish the garden...and yes they are invasive.
That's not why she's always ready with bouquet in hand ;o)

How could I not think of making us one of...
our favourite summer afternoon refreshments ;o)

Winding through urban garden settings led to a relaxing afternoon promenade.
It was time to release ourselves back into our comfy routines of relaxing on our balcony.

I already had snacks made from a few weeks ago...
added a few crackers and we were set.

Supper could certainly wait a few more hours...
now, it was time to wind down.

My Mint Mojito
serves 2 glasses
note: use the weight measuring cup for the first 4 ingredients.

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(American / Metric measures)

. 24 large, fresh Mint leaves, plus extra for garnish
. 1/4 cup (55g) organic cane sugar
. 1/4 cup (50ml) dark, aged Rum (5+)
. 1/4 cup (50ml) fresh lime juice (2 small limes)
. 1 can (355ml) of sparkling water
. 6 regular sized ice-cubes

. At the bottom of a medium sized pitcher, add the sugar with the mint leaves over top.  With a fork, poke and squash the extracted essential oils of the mint. 
. Add the Rum and lime juice.  
. Stir and cover the pitcher to place into refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes.
. Pour the sparkling water and stir.  
. In each glass, add the ice-cubes and then evenly pour the liquid mix through a small sieve in order to avoid pouring small pieces of mint.
. Lastly, garnish with extra mint.  Salute ;o)

. Add an extra 1/8 cup of frozen orange concentrate or simply, 1/4 cup orange juice.


roasted (savoury-sweet) flavoured
makes 2-1/2 cups (400g)

(American / Metric measures)

. 2-1/2 cups (400g) raw almonds
. 1 large (45ml) egg white 
. 2 tsps. (10ml) granulated sugar
. 1-1/2 tsps. (7.5ml) sea salt
. 1 tsp. (5ml) granulated garlic powder

. Pre-heat oven to 300F/150C/Gas2. 
. Position rack in the center of the oven.
. Prepare a large parchment lined baking pan.

. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy.  
. Add and coat the almonds.  Set for 2 minutes only.
. Add the seasoning and combine.
. Spread out the mixed almonds onto the parchment sheet and bake for an initial 20 minutes.  Afterwards, remove from the oven to break up and flip the almonds with the aid of a spatula.  Bake for another 20 minutes.
.  Cool the pan completely before serving or storing in an airtight, glass container.  These can be stored in the refrigerator for at least a month.

Most of us work very hard to get through our week...why not take a little deserved time off.

Whether it's playing tourist in our own part of the world or laying back with a refreshment and can certainly make it part of a small, pleasurable ritual ;o)

Here's to enjoying part of our short Summer time.

Flavourful wishes,

Comments ... ??? ... or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at:  foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com

Here's other related recipes that may be of interest:
- cold Espresso Coffee AMARETTO Latté
- LIMONCELLO light adapted