Gluten Free Baked Penne

Today’s hearty baked pasta dish is pure comfort food!  A great choice for a potluck or casual family dinner, everyone will want to dig into this tasty casserole.  I use a combination of gruyere cheese with its superb melting qualities and parmesan cheese in the topping for a crispy contrast.  I sneak a few healthy veggies into the mix for even more flavor and texture.  Who’s hungry?

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/2 sweet onion, cut into large dice
  • 6 cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 small zucchini 1/2″ dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • olive oil
  • 8 oz. ground beef
  • 8 oz. ground veal
  • 3/4 tsp. Tuscan seasoning, divided
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 8 oz. gluten free penne
  • cooking spray
  • 1/3 cup gluten free seasoned breadcrumbs
  • Italian parsley for garnish

Preparation:

Grate the cheese and set aside.  Add olive oil to a large nonstick skillet over medium low heat.  Cook the onions until they are translucent, then add the mushrooms, zucchini and garlic.  Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. Tuscan seasoning.  Remove from the pan and set aside to drain in a colander to remove excess liquid.

In the same pan, add more olive oil along with the ground beef and ground veal.  Season with 1/4 tsp. Tuscan seasoning.

Break up the meat with a spatula and stir until completely browned.  Clear a space in the center of the pan and add the tomato paste.

Let it toast for 1 minute then stir it into the browned meat.

Add the tomato sauce, sugar, oregano and basil.  Cover and bring to a low simmer for 10 minutes.

Heat water for the pasta and cook according to package directions.  Stir the cooked and drained veggies into the meat sauce.

Drain the pasta and add to the pan with 1/2 cup gruyere cheese.  Toss to combine.

Mist a casserole dish with cooking spray and fill with the pasta and sauce mixture.  Drizzle the top with olive oil and top with 1/3 cup breadcrumbs and 1/3 cup parmesan cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes at 350º.  Use tongs to carefully remove the foil and broil for 2 minutes to crisp up the top.

Garnish with Italian parsley and bring to the table.  Serve with extra parmesan cheese and marinara sauce.

Notes ♪♫ Not all gluten free pastas are created equal.  I used Jovial Brown Rice Penne in this recipe.  My favorite brand, it holds up especially well in casseroles, where even after boiling and baking it maintains a great al dente consistency.

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Gluten Free Eggplant Tortilla Casserole

This easy casserole dish is great for a family dinner.  If you are invited to a party or cookout and need to bring a gluten free dish, this would be a great choice.  Using canned beans and tomatoes makes it easy to put together.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced (about 3 cups)
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced (1-1/2 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • canola oil
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cans (10 oz.) diced tomatoes with mild green chiles
  • 1/2 tsp. Mexican Spice Blend or more to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, gruyere)
  • 4 gluten free corn tortillas, cut into eighths
  • cooking spray

Preparation:

Peel and dice the eggplant.  Add 3 tbsp. canola oil to a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, add the eggplant cubes and toss to coat.  Cook the eggplant until it is browned on all sides.  The eggplant absorbs oil like a sponge, so add more if needed.

Season with salt and set aside to cool.

Next, add a little more oil to the skillet and cook the onions until lightly browned.  Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds more.

Add the tomatoes with their juice and the drained beans.  Top with chopped cilantro and season to taste with Mexican Spice Blend, I used 1/2 tsp.

Toss well to combine and continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated.

To assemble the casserole, coat a 9″ x 9″ baking dish with cooking spray.  Line the baking dish with half of the tortillas.

Spoon half of the tomato mixture and eggplant cubes over the tortillas and top with 1/4 cup of cheese.

Repeat with another layer of tortillas.

Top with the remaining tomatoes and eggplant and 1/4 cup cheese.

Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes at 375º.  After 30 minutes remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

My husband just loved this dish!  It would be a nice accompaniment to a Cinco de Mayo dinner.  You could also serve it as an appetizer with tortilla chips.  This makes quite a few servings, and leftovers can be frozen.

Notes: ♪♫ I used Mission brand Yellow Corn Tortillas in this recipe, they are certified gluten free.  The spice mix is my own, a blend of chipotle chile flakes, oregano, onion granules and cumin.  if you are using a purchased blend, always check for gluten containing ingredients.

 

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