Do you enjoy a good casserole? If you’re from Minnesota, we refer to them as hot dishes. Well known fact, when my mom suggested making her delicious chicken noodle hot dish for family out East, they replied, “hot dish? What’s a hot dish?” I think they thought us Minnesotan’s were a bit odd? Turns out, her hot dish was a big hit! It was so good, it’s still requested and served with much love by my mom when they visit us here in Minnesota!
Even sautéed cauliflower feels decadent in this cheesy-crunchy baked pasta with some of my favorite additions, tuna and capers. I seriously love a good casserole don’t you! I mean, hot dish? I personally can’t wait to make this for them next time I visit, or they travel here!
I seriously believe us Minnesotan’s make a lot of sense since these so called casseroles come out of the oven steaming HOT! So if you’re from Minnesota, you’re going to love this delicious Crusty Baked Cauliflower & Shells “Hot Dish”. Of course, if you’re not from Minnesota, you’re welcome to re-name this your new favorite casserole. It’s ok with me!
I love making casseroles all year round because they’re easy, quick, and healthy too! They’re loaded with lots of veggies and a good protein source. At least mine are. My favorite part about making hot dishes, aka casseroles, is I can assemble them ahead of time, put my oven on time bake, and come home to a hot meal
(hot dish) after running class. UM…YES!
Lets chat a bit more about my new favorite hot dish/casserole. I roasted one large head of cauliflower and one onion in my oven for about 20 minutes or until brown, but not mushy. I also used gluten free pasta, my favorite, jovial brown rice pasta. It doesn’t get mushy nor does it stick together like many others I have tried. I also like TruRoot’s Ancient Grain Pasta and Tinkayada pasta. Just be careful not to over cook your pasta since it will continue to soften more while it bakes. Do you have a favorite gluten free pasta?
As I mentioned above, a hot dish isn’t complete if it doesn’t include some protein. In this particular recipe I tossed in two cans of wild planet tuna. YUM! Love this stuff! Next I mixed in some yummy cheeses, some fresh herbs, and than topped with a crunchy panko bread crumb mixture. To Die for. Best hot dish on the planet!
- cauliflower ‘n onion
- crunchy panko bread crumbs
What’s not to love when you can assemble this now, cover it, refrigerate it over night, and bake before you’re ready to serve. What busy, active, runner, wife, mom or anyone for that matter, doesn’t love coming home to a well balanced hot dish full of goodness? Protein, veggies and a healthy carb. ENJOY!
CRUSTY BAKED CAULIFLOWER & PASTA “HOT DISH”
- salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 pound of medium shells gluten free pasta or penne
- good olive oil
- 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 medium onion, sliced thin
- 3 tablespoons of fresh sage leaves
- 2 tablespoons of capers, drained
- 1 tablespoon of garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp of fresh lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 cups of freshly grated Italian Fontina cheese or other mild cheese
- 1 cup of fresh ricotta
- 2 cans of wild planet tuna
- 1/2 cup of panko (Japanese break flakes) gluten free
- 6 tablespoons of freshly grated Italian Pecorino cheese
- 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Cook pasta until al dente, being careful not to over cook. Drain and pour into a large bowl.
- Toss cauliflower and onion with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes at 400°.
- Pour the cauliflower and onion into large bowl with pasta.
- Add the sage, capers, garlic, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, additional salt and pepper if needed. Stir in the Fontina cheese and tuna. Transfer half of the mixture to a 9x13x2 inch rectangular baking dish. Spoon rounded tablespoons of ricotta on the pasta and spoon the remaining pasta mixture on top. Combine the panko, parsley and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly on top.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, or until browned and crusty on top.