Saturday, October 30, 2010

Best. Veggie Combo. Ever.

Best. Veggie Combo. Ever.
I'm not sure why this particular combination of vegetables (with pasta) tastes so delicious, but I think it's something about the mixture of fennel and eggplant. Or maybe it's just everything, including the peppers, garlic, and zucchini. Whatever the explanation, I love this dish, and the feedback I've gotten from readers has been uniformly positive.

Try it and see what you think, but don't substitute or leave out anything or you probably won't get the full effect. (Photo at left is of the veggies before you add the pasta)

Recipe: Pasta with Roasted Eggplant and Fennel
(Serves 4)

1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into one-inch cubes
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into one-inch cubes
1 large (or two medium) zucchini, sliced lengthwise and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 red or orange bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
4 T olive oil, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock (I make it with chicken stock, which is part of the magical whole flavor impact, but vegetable stock makes it a vegetarian dish, if you wish)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups uncooked pasta shapes, preferably multigrain or whole grain
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, toss eggplant, fennel, zucchini and pepper with 2 T of the olive oil. Spread vegetables evenly on a rimmed cookie sheet that has been coated with cooking spray. Bake for 25 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
2. About 10 minutes before veggies are done, heat salted water in a large saucepan and cook pasta according to package directions, until al dente. Drain and keep warm.
3. Heat remaining 2 T of oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for about 90 seconds. Stir in stock. Remove veggies from oven and add to frying pan.
4. Add thyme, salt and pepper. Stir in pasta and heat through.
5. Spoon into serving bowl and pass cheese at the table.

Reposted from last fall/winter.

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