Cauliflower is slowly roasted with garbanzo beans, onions, red peppers and kalamata olives, and then tossed with chunky tomato sauce and pasta before being sprinkled with feta cheese and baked a little more. This post is sponsored by Ragu, but all opinions are my own.
When my office moved into downtown Bangor, Maine, last winter, we traded a parking lot for a six level parking garage. On our first day there, I arrived, parked and hurried to our building to start work. Hours later, as I headed back to the garage, I realized that when I’d parked that morning I hadn’t stopped to note where my car was.
The only thing I could remember was that I’d seen a colleague’s car nearby. A quick text later, and I found my car that night.
But that same scenario played out a few times in the following weeks — both for me and others. In our rush to get to work, with our minds elsewhere, we’d park and go without a pause to note where we were parking. Later, we’d realize we had no idea where our cars were. Cue the panic.
I was recently listening to a TED talk by Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin on how to stay calm when you know you’ll be stressed. His point? As a people, we’re flawed and that’s okay. Stress happens, and when we know it’s going to happen, we should be planning ahead to mitigate it. In the case of the parking garage, my boss and I quickly came to a similar solution: If we parked on the same level every day, in virtually the same space, we’d never have to wonder where our cars were at the end of the day.
So we did. And it eliminated that stress.
A similar thing happens in the kitchen, I think. We’re busy in the mornings, rushing to get the kids to school and ourselves to work, and absently breeze through the kitchen, not thinking about what will happen later when we arrive home and need to feed our families and our selves dinner.
How many times has that scenario played out in your life? Or mine, for that matter?
After struggling with this, I finally put a system in place in the form of a wipe-board on my fridge. That board, which lists days Monday-Sunday, is where I record what I plan to make for dinner each night of the week. I plan on the weekend, when I am relaxed, and then make sure we have everything we need.
I can’t tell you how much stress that removes from my life. When I can just glance at the board and know what’s for dinner, it becomes easy to make good dinners nightly — whether you have 15 minutes or much longer to cook.
This recipe? It’s good for those nights when you have a little more time to make dinner.
This Mediterranean Roasted Cauliflower and Garbanzo Pasta Bake recipe combines two dishes I love dearly: Roasted veggies and pasta bakes. Cauliflower is slowly roasted with garbanzo beans, onions, red peppers and kalamata olives, and then tossed with chunky Ragu sauce and pasta before being sprinkled with feta cheese and baked a little more.
In the end, it’s a satisfying pasta dish filled with comforting mediterranean flavors.
And yes, I used Ragu sauce in this — the sauce that I grew up on. With a fresh flavor and free from artificial flavors and colors, this sauce adds depth and nuance to this pasta dish. My kids adore how the tender roasted vegetables come together with the addition of sauce.
Hint: If you are reheating this, consider drizzling a little extra sauce on top. It adds a little oomph to the reheated pasta dish.
Ready. Set. Cook!
Do you love creating unique recipes like this? If so, Ragu has a contest that you might just be interested in. Ready. Set. Cook! challenges home cooks to create new and unique recipes featuring a sponsored ingredient, plus a set list of other contest ingredients.
You have between now and Nov. 30 to enter a creative, interesting, delicious recipe at Food.com/Ragu. Then there will be two weeks of rating and reviewing of the recipes followed by two weeks of judging and then a winner’s announcement. There will also be a People’s Choice Award given for the fan favorite recipe.
One grand prize winner will receive $3,000. The runner up will win $1,250. And the People’s Choice Winner receives $750. So if you love to cook … check it out and enter!
- 1 small head cauliflower, broken into florets
- 1 15.5- oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 cup Ragú Chunky 7 Herb Tomato marinara sauce
- 1 cup pasta, (such as penne), prepared
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Combine the cauliflower florets, garbanzo beans, diced red bell pepper, diced onion and kalamata olives in a 9x13-inch oven-safe baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Slide the pan into the preheated oven and bake, stirring every 15-20 minutes, until the cauliflower is golden and softened, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir in the marinara sauce and pasta. Sprinkle with feta cheese.
- Return to the oven and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, until hot and bubbly.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Ragu. The opinions and text are all mine.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of four cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to a tween and a teen, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.