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A delicious and comforting weeknight Vegetable Pasta Casserole with Tian Provençal (vegetable gratin) baked with flavorful orzo pasta and cheese

Tian Provençal with Orzo (Vegetable Pasta Casserole)

Tian Provençal is a vegetable gratin with layered sliced zucchini, squash, and tomato baked in oven on bed of sauce until vegetables are cooked and flavors meld, a bit like a ratatouille. Today's recipe features Tian as one-pot vegetable and pasta casserole. I cooked vegetable gratin (Tian Provençal) on top of flavorful Orzo Pasta for an easy weeknight one-pot vegetable pasta dinner. 

If you like Tian style vegetable casserole, I'm sure you will enjoy my Ratatouille Recipe from movie Ratatouille.

Vegetable Tian

TIAN

A tian is an ceramic/earthenware of Provence. It is used both for cooking and serving. This is how this dish got it's name. Tian  Provençal (recette tian) is an Italian Provencal vegetable casserole with layered vegetables baked in oven on bed of tomato sauce. Sometimes with soft cheese such as goat cheese.

My idea of baking Tian over bed of orzo pasta is inspired from my Ratatouille recipe and an orzo pasta bake recipe from America Test Kitchen's website. Loved the idea to combine two of my favorites to make one hearty weeknight meal.

This recipe is less labor intensive than Ratatouille. I used thick slices of zucchini, yellow squash, tomato and red onion. These can be sliced with knife and don't need a slicer.

WHAT IS IN TIAN ORZO PASTA BAKE?

The ingredients used for Tian Provençal are similar to the basic ingredients in Ratatouille. Sliced zucchini, eggplant, and tomato. I, however, replaced eggplant with yellow squash. And layered thin sliced red onion for flavor and color. 

I replaced the base of tomato sauce with layer of seasoned Orzo Pasta. The best part is, pasta cooks with vegetables. This makes this vegetable pasta casserole perfect one-pot dinner for weeknights.

Vegetable Casserole with Orzo Pasta

HOW TO BAKE ORZO PASTA?

This is one special thing about this casserole. It has a layer of orzo pasta baked while Tian bakes. I season pasta with herb, garlic, and bake with mixture of heavy cream and chicken stock. This yields creamy orzo pasta without boiling pots of water. everything cooks snuggled together in one casserole, adding flavor to each other.

Note: Even though this is a vegetable recipe. I do use chicken stock to make orzo pasta more flavorful.

Baked Vegetable Gratin Tian with Pasta

MAKE IT YOUR OWN VEGETABLE CASSEROLE

This recipe can be easily adapted to suit your family's preference. Here are a few suggestions to make it your won:

1. Use Different Veggies: I used  zucchini, yellow squash, tomato and red onion. You can also use thin sliced eggplant, par-boiled red potato or yellow beets.
2. Chicken and Orzo: Add diced cooked chicken for a serving of protein.
3. Add Tomato Sauce or Pesto: Often, I layer a 1/4 cup of tomato sauce or basil pesto at the bottom of casserole before topping with uncooked orzo pasta. This makes orzo even more delicious. I highly recommend it. For this recipe's pictures I did not add sauce because sauce makes orzo yellow or green colored. Only for fancy pictures! ;-)
4. Skip or Add More Cheese: I love the hint of parmesan and mozzarella on top of veggies. This adds lots of flavor to cooked zucchini and tomato. You will love it. That said, you can skip cheese and only use salt, pepper. Or add more cheese if in mood for a more comforting dinner.

Tian Provencal prepared like Ratatouille

Friends, if you like vegetarian pasta for your family dinner? This one-pot recipe is a real winner. Try it today. I'm certain you have most ingredients in your pantry. Even if you don't have all the veggies. Don't worry. Make it your own Tian Provençal Pasta Bake with changes suggested above.

Wish you happy long weekend!

-Savita

Baked Orzo Pasta Gratin Long Picture with Text

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Tian Provençal with Orzo (Vegetable Pasta Casserole)

Tian Provençal with Orzo (Vegetable Pasta Casserole)
Total Time Prep Time Cook Time Difficulty Easy Yields 9.5" casserole Serves 4 Notes No. of servings depends on serving size.

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Orzo Pasta  
  • 1 Zucchini  (thin sliced)
  • 1 Yellow Squash  (thin sliced)
  • 3 Tomatoes  (firm Roma Tomatoes, cored and thin sliced)
  • 1/4 Red Onion  (thin sliced half moons)
  • 1 tsp Oregano  
  • 1/2 tsp Basil  
  • 1/4 tsp Chili Flakes  
  • 1/4 Cup Basil Pesto  (or Tomato-Basil sauce of choice. (both optional))
  • 1 Cup Chicken Stock  
  • 1 Lemon  (to get 1/2 tsp zest and 1 tbsp juice)
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese  (grated, about 2 ounce)
  • 1 tbsp Garlic  (3-4 large cubes, grated)
  • 1/3 Cup Mozzarella Cheese  (grated)
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil  

Directions

  • 1. Pre-heat oven at 425 degree Fahrenheit. Spray 9.5 inch baking dish with oil spray. Set aside. In a bowl, add orzo, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, chili flakes, oregano, basil, 1/2 tsp salt, lemon zest, 1/2 tsp black pepper, and grated garlic. Mix well. Set aside.
  • Step for Recipe - Tian Provençal with Orzo (Vegetable Pasta Casserole)
    2. If using *tomato/pesto sauce then spread sauce evenly in baking dish in single layer. Next, gently spread orzo mixture evenly on top in single layer. Drizzle a tbsp of olive oil and a tbsp of lemon juice on top. Set aside.
  • Step for Recipe - Tian Provençal with Orzo (Vegetable Pasta Casserole)
    3. Top orzo layer with sliced zucchini, squash, tomato and red onion. Arrange in alternately, starting with zucchini, squash, tomato and repeat to complete a spiral. (as shown in picture)
  • 4. Slowly pour a cup of chicken stock (or vegetable stock) on top. Make sure not to disturb the layers. Drizzle remaining 1 tbsp olive oil on top of sliced veggies, then season with generous pinch of salt and black pepper. Bake until liquid in orzo has been absorbed. (about 20 minutes)
  • Step for Recipe - Tian Provençal with Orzo (Vegetable Pasta Casserole)
    5. Take casserole out and switch oven to broiler setting. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan and mozzarella cheese on top of baked veggies. Return back to oven and cook for 2-3 minutes or until cheese has melted and bubbling. Let cool for 5-10 minutes. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley. Serve with side of crusty bread. Enjoy!
Savita's Notes:

*Tomato/Pesto Sauce

I have not used sauce for these pictures. But little sauce adds lot of flavor. and I highly recommend trying it once. When using, make sure sauce is not runny or watery. Spread it as evenly as possible.

**Slicing Veggies

Slicing all the veggies evenly is key to even cooking. You can cut veggies evenly with knife or use mandoline slicer. It saves time too!! Buy a mandoline slicer from local Kitchen Appliance Store or purchase it online.(affiliate link)

MAKE IT YOUR OWN VEGETABLE CASSEROLE

This recipe can be easily adapted to suit your family's preference. Here are a few suggestions to make it your won:

1. Use Different Veggies: I used zucchini, yellow squash, tomato and red onion. You can also use thin sliced eggplant, par-boiled red potato or yellow beets.
2. Chicken and Orzo: Add diced cooked chicken for a serving of protein.
3. Add Tomato Sauce or Pesto: Often, I layer a 1/4 cup of tomato sauce or basil pesto at the bottom of casserole before topping with uncooked orzo pasta. This makes orzo even more delicious. I highly recommend it. For this recipe's pictures I did not add sauce because sauce makes orzo yellow or green colored. Only for fancy pictures! :-)
4. Skip or Add More Cheese: I love the hint of parmesan and mozzarella on top of veggies. This adds lots of flavor to cooked zucchini and tomato. You will love it. That said, you can skip cheese and only use salt, pepper. Or add more cheese if in mood for a more comforting dinner.

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