Oven-Baked Risoni Pasta with Tomatoes and Beans
Friday evening, cold and weary and in need of comfort food FAST- sounds familiar? So I whipped-up this yummy dish of goodness quicker than can be and chased away the blues before they even had a chance to set-in! Oh sure, it IS the weekend and I will be over the moon about it in the morning... but right now, tired as I am from a busy week, I am just mellow and content in the afterglow of this warming, golden-topped treat, which was just the right thing to combat the cold!
I love Risoni pasta- it is so versatile and has a wonderful silky-smooth feeling on your tongue when you eat it- yummy! I decided to use up the last few string beans that I had in the fridge and a few cherry tomatoes- a few herbs and a little Parmesan- and hey, presto- dinner was served!
So- starting at the beginning (as one does), I turned on the oven to get it ready... I was in the mood for moving and shaking this evening!
Next, I got some water boiling and added about 2 handfuls of Risoni, reduced the heat to a gentle simmer and got busy chopping some celery, onion and carrot to make a little soffritto. It only took a half of a carrot, a half of a stalk of celery and a half of a small onion, along with a little garlic, all very finely chopped, to get a great flavor base for my dish together in no time!
As soon as the onion had become translucent and the garlic had begun to brown, I added a little tomato paste and a few herbs to the mix... freshly chopped parsley, dried oregano and thyme, some freshly grated nutmeg and a little chili... and everything began to smell a whole lot better!
After 5-6 minutes cooking time, the pasta was half done, so I poured off most of the water, so that it was just covered and added the beans, which I had cut into thin strips on the diagonal and the contents of my frying pan. I let the pasta continue to simmer and to take in all of the good flavors, whilst the beans also par-boiled along with them.
2-3 minutes later, everything was nicely blended and rendered down to a smooth, creamy consistency. Now it was time to add some sliced cherry tomatoes and a little olive oil and to pour it into my baking dish. I sprinkled it with Parmesan and added a generous sprinkle of coarsley ground black pepper- then popped it into the oven for 10 minutes at 350°F to bring it up to temperature, finish cooking the tomatoes and beans... and get the Parmesan yummy and melted. I say that, but I personally prefer my cheese to be crispy rather than stretchy and gooey- so my preference was for a further 2-3 minutes under the broiler- but whatever you prefer is fine with me... as long as you enjoy! And I am sure you will! Buon apetito!