Vegetable and Orzo Casserole


* 1 cup breadcrumbs

* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

* Extra-virgin olive oil

* 1 pound orzo pasta

* 2 small yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch wedges

* 2 small bulbs fennel, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

* 1 small red onion, julienned

* 5 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped into 1-inch pieces

* 2 cloves garlic, chopped

* Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

* Marinara sauce and/or Soy Parmesan cheese ( optional )


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a medium bowl, mix together breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and parsley; season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

3. Divide butternut squash between two baking sheets, spreading in an even layer. Drizzle each baking sheet with 2 tablespoons olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Transfer to oven and roast until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.

4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add orzo and cook for 5 minutes; drain and transfer to bowl with squash.

5. Heat 1 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Transfer fennel to bowl with squash and orzo.

6. Return skillet to medium heat and add onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, garlic, and 1/4 cup water; let simmer until tomatoes begin to soften, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer onion mixture to bowl with orzo, squash, and fennel. Season with salt and pepper.

7. Transfer orzo mixture to a 3-quart baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. Sprinkle top with bread crumb mixture. Return baking dish to oven and bake, uncovered, until panko is toasted, about 10 minutes more.

Serve with marinara sauce and parmesan cheese if desired.