Rotini with Roasted Veggies
This pasta dish is one of our favorite meatless meals. It's satisfying, easy to make and can be adapted to accomodate whatever fresh produce is available. The vegetables are roasted in a hot oven to bring out their natural flavors and sweetness, then combined with pasta, fresh parsley, sautéed onions and garlic and a splash of balsamic vinegar for flavor.
- 10 ounces rotini
- 2 small eggplants (about 1-1/4 lbs total)
- 2 small zucchini (about 3/4 lb total)
- 8 plum tomatoes
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- Pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1-1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
- Pecorino Romano cheese for grating
Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the rotini. Preheat the oven to 425°F and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or foil sprayed with nonstick spray.
Prepare the vegetables. Peel the eggplant, cut it lengthwise into eight pieces, then crosswise into 1-1/2-inch chunks. Quarter the zucchini lengthwise, then cut it crosswise into 1-inch chunks. Remove the core from the tomatoes, cut lengthwise into quarters, then halve each quarter crosswise.
Arrange the eggplant in a single layer on one baking sheet and the tomatoes and zucchini in a single layer on the other. Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Roast the veggies until tender and lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Watch carefully to be sure they don't burn. Remove from the oven and set aside.
While the vegetables roast, heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and fragrant, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and continue cooking for another minute. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Cook the pasta according to the package directions, drain and combine with the onion-garlic mixture. Mix in the parsley, drizzle on some additional olive oil and adjust the seasoning as needed. Add the roasted vegetables and mix gently to keep them intact. Plate and top with grated cheese.
Makes 4 servings
Just about any vegetable that lends itself to high-heat roasting can be used in this dish. Other possibilities are: red and green bell peppers, cauliflower, portobello mushrooms and asparagus. You can also experiment with other fresh herbs. In place of the parsley try using fresh thyme, oregano or rosemary.