Roasted Vegetable Rice Bake

I’ve been slacking a bit on updating my Sunday Suppers. They’re still happening even with Covid-19 but I’ve been so focused on baking, closet organizing, and online teaching that I’m not as focused on my Supper recipes.

A few weeks ago I found some really nice looking eggplant at the store, usually this time of year they are a little mushy or damaged but these looked really good. So I bought a couple, not knowing what I would make but when I was looking through old recipes I came across the roasted veggie rice bake.

 

This is an old favorite that I haven’t made in years, it’s chocked full of veggies and tomatoey goodness with melty mozzarella on top. It’s comforting, delicious and somewhat healthy (cheese doesn’t count :)), just what we need during this crazy time. Perfect for a Sunday Supper or a Meatless Monday, it also makes your house smell really good because of the saffron. Saffron can be found at most grocery stores in the spice aisle and it’s not as expensive as you would think, so don’t let that turn you off this recipe! I’ve found it at Trader Joes for super cheap.

 

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons plus ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • Pinch of saffron
  • ¼ cup dry white wine ( remember, if you wouldn’t drink it don’t cook with it)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth or water
  • 3 large eggplants (about 3 pounds), cut crosswise into ¼-inch rounds
  • 2  zucchinis (about 1 pound) cut into ¼-inch rounds
  • 12oz mushrooms, sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups tomato sauce (such as marinara)
  • ½ -1 pound fresh Buffalo mozzarella, cut into ¾-inch cubes
  • 1 cup coarsely grated Parmesan/ Pecorino
Directions

 

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Toss sliced zucchinis, eggplants, and mushrooms in a bowl with the ½  cup olive oil. Distribute evenly onto two rimmed baking sheets and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for a total of 20-25 minutes. Turn the vegetables once, after 12 minutes, and remove them from the oven when they are done roasting.

In the meantime start the rice filling. In a large sized pan cook the onions with the left over olive oil until softened on medium heat. Add the rice and cook for about 3 minutes while stirring. Add the saffron and wine. (Doesn’t it smell amazing?) Reduce wine slightly and add the broth. Season with salt and pepper if necessary. Cover the pan with a lid and cook until the rice is al dente, about 6-7 minutes, don’t over cook! (it will finish cooking in the oven)

Now start layering! Cover the bottom of a 13x9x2 baking dish with 1 cup tomato sauce. Sprinkle evenly with ⅓ of mozzarella and Parmesan. Layer half of the roasted veggies on top. Make sure the veggies overlap and no sauce peaks through. Spread the rice mixture evenly on top. Sprinkle with ⅓ of both cheeses and add half of the remaining tomato sauce. Layer with the rest of the roasted vegetables, cover with the rest of the tomato sauce and sprinkle evenly with remaining cheeses.

Cover the baking dish with foil. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted.Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes or until the cheese topping is golden brown.

Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

 

 

 

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