Kitchen Sink Pasta Pie Saves the Day!

I used to post any old recipe on here that I attempted, regardless of how wonderfully or horribly it turned out. I noticed, however, that most food bloggers – the ones who had really been successful and had a lot of followers – only, for the most part, posted the Good Stuff. I was faced with a dilemma: do I try to emulate the bloggers who I admire so much and, ultimately, strive to be more like in terms of success; or do I throw caution to the wind and stick to the fact that Floptimism is all about taking the good with the bad, and sometimes that means telling you all about how much of a failure a particular recipe wound up being?

In the end, I decided to do a combination. I try to make the good outweigh the bad, just as I’m trying in general to focus more on the positive things in life, but I do confess to royally messing up every now and then. I also try to refrain from posting about a recipe that either didn’t quite live up to expectations but had potential, or something got in the way of making it a really classy post, like I forgot to take a picture or for some reason wrote next to nothing in my notes about alterations to the original or my opinion of how it turned out. For those situations, I stick them on my “make again list,” and every once in a while I go back and give them a second chance.

This pasta pie is one of those recipes that got its chance at redemption only recently. I originally made it back in February and found it to be a little lackluster. Still, it was easy to make and had a lot of potential as one of those “clean out your fridge” recipes that you find yourself in need of every so often when your fresh produce has seen better days and your pantry is more of a mash-up of half-used containers than anything else.

The second time I made it, I made a lot of changes, admittedly. I don’t think all of them are necessary to make it a first-rate dish, but that’s the nature of a recipe whose purpose is to help you clean house. You can either roast the vegetables first (which I did in round 1), or not; you can add breadcrumbs, or not; you can use the herbs and spices suggested, or go with whatever you have on hand; you can make it gluten free and vegan, or absolutely 100% traditional; it can be based around leftover pasta, rice, or – as I did in round 2 – a really nice combination of the two. I mean, this really shouldn’t even be called a recipe – it’s definitely one of those “guideline” meals - but it should be called delicious, and simple, and wonderful to have on hand in times of culinary emergencies. 


Kitchen Sink Pasta Pie, adapted from the Gluten Free Goddess1
Yield: 4-6 servings

The Ingredients – The Pie
1 ½ - 2 cups cooked pasta or rice
3-3 ½ cups vegetables
3 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
various dried herbs of your choice
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
basic white sauce (recipe below)

The Ingredients – The White Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ½ cups low-fat milk
3 tablespoons whole wheat flour, divided
(3 tablespoons cheese of your choice)2
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon dijon mustard
pinch of nutmeg
1 onion, minced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons egg whites
1 teaspoon baking powder

The Method
If roasting the vegetables, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice and chop the vegetables coarsely and arrange on a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with dried herbs and pepper; toss to coat, then place in the oven to roast until tender, approximately 30 minutes.

While the vegetables roast, you can make your white sauce. If not roasting, start with this step. Whisk the olive oil, milk and 1 tablespoon flour together in a sauce pan over medium heat and allow it to thicken. Optionally, add in the cheese, continuing to whisk together. Lastly, stir in the vinegar, mustard, nutmeg, onion and garlic until thickened. Mix in the egg whites, followed by the remaining flour and baking powder.

Assemble the pie in a lightly greased pie plate by tossing or layering the cooked pasta with the vegetables and additional herbs and spices. Pour the sauce over the mixture and shake the plate gently to get everything to mix. Top with bread crumbs and additional herbs, if desired, and bake in the center of a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Allow the pie to rest 5 minutes before serving.

1Refer to the original website for ideas on how to make this gluten-free and/or vegan.
2I left this out twice because the original recipe called for nutritional yeast, and I didn’t understand what that meant. I found out recently that it’s used to mimic the flavor of cheese in vegan recipes, so although I enjoyed the recipe without any cheese at all, it certainly would make the flavors pop even more.


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