Baby Broccoli & Fregola Sarda Casserole with Sweet Peppers & Asiago Cheese

Baby Broccoli & Fregola Sarda Casserole

with Sweet Peppers & Asiago Cheese

Group Created with Sketch. 50 min
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    4 Servings
  • icon-nutrition Created with Sketch. Est. 610 Cals/serving
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This satisfying casserole is a vegetarian take on “fregola al forno,” or oven-baked fregola, a dish from the island of Sardinia in Italy. At its heart is fregola sarda, a toasted, pearl-shaped pasta. We’re folding it in with baby broccoli and sweet peppers, sautéed with dried currants and fresh oregano for sweetness and an aromatic lift. Just before baking, we’re topping the casserole with bold asiago cheese, which browns beautifully. A garnish of more oregano (pan-fried for crispy texture) makes for a gourmet finish.

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Prepare the ingredients:
1 Prepare the ingredients:

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Pick half the oregano leaves off the stems; discard the stems. Keep the remaining oregano sprigs whole. Cut off and discard the stem ends of the sweet peppers; halve lengthwise. Remove and discard the ribs and seeds, then thinly slice crosswise. Cut off and discard the bottom inch of the baby broccoli stems; roughly chop the baby broccoli. Peel and roughly chop the garlic. Roughly chop the piquante peppers. Quarter and deseed the lemon. Grate the asiago cheese on the large side of a box grater. Roughly chop the almonds.

Cook the pasta:
2 Cook the pasta:

Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Cook 14 to 16 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Turn off the heat. Drain thoroughly and return to the pot.

Fry the oregano:
3 Fry the oregano:

While the pasta cooks, in a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the whole oregano sprigs in a single layer and cook, stirring occasionally, 45 seconds to 1 minute, or until the leaves are dark green and crispy. Reserving the oil, carefully transfer the fried oregano to a paper towel-lined plate; immediately season with salt and pepper.

Cook the vegetables:
4 Cook the vegetables:

While the pasta continues to cook, to the pan of reserved oil, add the sweet peppers and baby broccoli; season with salt and pepper. Cook on medium-high, stirring occasionally, 5 to 7 minutes, or until slightly softened. Add the garlic, oregano leaves, and currants. Cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until softened and fragrant. Turn off the heat; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Finish the pasta & assemble the casserole:
5 Finish the pasta & assemble the casserole:

To the pot of cooked pasta, add the cooked vegetables, piquante peppers, ricotta cheese, and the juice of all 4 lemon wedges. Stir to thoroughly combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a baking dish. Evenly top with the asiago cheese.

Bake the casserole & serve your dish:
6 Bake the casserole & serve your dish:

Bake the casserole 11 to 13 minutes, or until heated through and the cheese has melted. Remove from the oven. Let stand at least 2 minutes. Just before serving, pick the fried oregano leaves off the stems; discard the stems. Garnish the baked casserole with the fried oregano leaves and almonds. Enjoy!

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1 Prepare the ingredients:

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Pick half the oregano leaves off the stems; discard the stems. Keep the remaining oregano sprigs whole. Cut off and discard the stem ends of the sweet peppers; halve lengthwise. Remove and discard the ribs and seeds, then thinly slice crosswise. Cut off and discard the bottom inch of the baby broccoli stems; roughly chop the baby broccoli. Peel and roughly chop the garlic. Roughly chop the piquante peppers. Quarter and deseed the lemon. Grate the asiago cheese on the large side of a box grater. Roughly chop the almonds.

2 Cook the pasta:

Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Cook 14 to 16 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Turn off the heat. Drain thoroughly and return to the pot.

Fry the oregano:
3 Fry the oregano:

While the pasta cooks, in a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the whole oregano sprigs in a single layer and cook, stirring occasionally, 45 seconds to 1 minute, or until the leaves are dark green and crispy. Reserving the oil, carefully transfer the fried oregano to a paper towel-lined plate; immediately season with salt and pepper.

4 Cook the vegetables:

While the pasta continues to cook, to the pan of reserved oil, add the sweet peppers and baby broccoli; season with salt and pepper. Cook on medium-high, stirring occasionally, 5 to 7 minutes, or until slightly softened. Add the garlic, oregano leaves, and currants. Cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until softened and fragrant. Turn off the heat; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the vegetables:
Finish the pasta & assemble the casserole:
5 Finish the pasta & assemble the casserole:

To the pot of cooked pasta, add the cooked vegetables, piquante peppers, ricotta cheese, and the juice of all 4 lemon wedges. Stir to thoroughly combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a baking dish. Evenly top with the asiago cheese.

6 Bake the casserole & serve your dish:

Bake the casserole 11 to 13 minutes, or until heated through and the cheese has melted. Remove from the oven. Let stand at least 2 minutes. Just before serving, pick the fried oregano leaves off the stems; discard the stems. Garnish the baked casserole with the fried oregano leaves and almonds. Enjoy!

Bake the casserole & serve your dish: