Gratin of Rigatoni with Roasted Vegetables
This recipe is a good choice for a supper dish with no meat.
Oven-roasted vegetables have a magical, toasted, concentrated flavour, and they keep all their dazzling colours intact. Vegetarians may like to know there is a Parmesan 'style' cheese available from Bookhams, and strict vegetarians, exclude the anchovies.
This recipe is from Delia's Complete How to Cook. Serves 4
Start off by preparing the courgettes and aubergine an hour ahead of time: chop them into 1½ inch (4 cm) chunks, leaving the skins on, and layer them in a colander with a sprinkling of salt between each layer.
Then put a plate on top and weight it down with something heavy, which will draw out any excess moisture from the vegetables.
After an hour, squeeze then dry them in a clean tea cloth, then pre-heat the oven to its highest setting.
Now quarter the tomatoes and chop the onion and peppers into 1½ inch (4 cm) chunks. Next, arrange all the vegetables on the baking tray and sprinkle with the olive oil and chopped garlic. Give everything a good mix to coat all the pieces with the oil, then spread them out as much as possible.
Season with salt and freshly milled black pepper, then roast on a high shelf in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until browned and charred at the edges.
Now make the cheese sauce – place the milk, flour, butter and cayenne pepper into a medium saucepan and place it over a gentle heat. Then, using a balloon whisk, begin to whisk while bringing it to a gentle simmer. Whisk continually until you have a smooth glossy sauce, and simmer very gently for 5 minutes.
Then add the cheese and whisk again, allowing it to melt. Then season with salt, freshly milled black pepper and some freshly grated nutmeg.
Meanwhile, put a large pan of water on to boil for the pasta. About 5 minutes before the vegetables are ready, cook the rigatoni in the boiling water for exactly 6 minutes – no longer. Drain the pasta in a colander, transfer it to a large mixing bowl and combine it with the roasted vegetables, olives, anchovies, capers and cheese sauce.
At this point turn the heat down to gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C), leaving the door open to let it cool down a bit quicker.
Now layer the mixture into the gratin dish, a third at a time, sprinkling the Mozzarella over each layer and finishing with Mozzarella. Finally, sprinkle the mixture with the heaped tablespoon of Parmesan.
Bake in the oven for another 6 minutes, and serve very hot with just a leafy salad and a sharp dressing to accompany it.
If you want to make this ahead of time, it will need 35-40 minutes in the oven at gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C) to heat it through from cold.