Friday, March 18, 2011

Roasted Ratatouille Pasta

I have had some requests for meatless meals from a couple of readers.  This is one of my favorites!  I love how simple this is, and how the flavors and texture of each vegetable shines through.  Other than chopping some veggies, boiling some water, and oven-roasting the veggies, this is a simple meal to pull together.  (Admit it, chopping is a stress-reliever!)

My husband delared ("officially," mind you) at the conclusion of this meal that he just doesn't care for eggplant.  I respectfully accepted his submission, but I don't think it will eliminate this veggie from my meal-planning.  I really like it!

Just a Note:  The roasting of the veggies in this meal overlap, so make you you have a mental handle on your timing so you don't overcook or undercook any of the veggies.  In the end, it really does make it a bit easier and everything will be done at the same time.  You're making your oven work for you!

What about you?  Do you like eggplant?  What is your favorite way of preparing it?

Roasted Ratatouille Pasta
Adapted from Rachael Ray

1 head of garlic
olive oil for drizzling
1 medium eggplant, ends removed, peeled, and cut into small chunks
2-3 zucchini, ends removed, cut in half lengthwise, and cut into small chunks (my zucchini was less-than-desirable, so I omitted it this time around)
2 red bell peppers, cored and cut into small chunks
2 small heads of fresh broccoli
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed from stems
freshly ground black pepper
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
1 bunch of fresh baby asparagus
1 pound pasta (I used penne; you can also use whole wheat pasta)
1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Place a large pot of water over medium heat; bring to boil.

To roast the garlic, cut the top off the head of garlic to expose the cloves.  Place on a small sheet of foil, drizzle olive oil over the top, wrap up the foil around the garlic, and twist to close.  Place garlic on a small baking sheet and roast for about 45 minutes, until garlic is soft and tender.  When finished roasting, remove from oven and open the foil to allow the garlic to cool.

Place chopped eggplant, zucchini, red bell peppers, onion, and thyme leaves on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Drizzle generously with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and using your hands, toss gently to coat.  Once garlic has been roasting about 15 minutes, add the baking sheet of chopped veggies to the oven.  Roast them until they are tender and caramelized, about 30 minutes.

Once the veggies have been in the oven about 20 minutes, add the tomatoes and asparagus to the top.  Drizzle with a bit more olive oil if they are looking dry.  Finish roasting about 10-15 minutes more, until tomatoes start to burst and asparagus is tender.

At this point, salt the pot of boiling water, and add the pasta.  Cook until al dente, about 9-10 minutes.  Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, and drain the pasta in a large colander.  Transfer the cooked pasta to a serving bowl.

Once the garlic is done roasting, allow it to get cool enough to handle, then hold the head in your hand and squeeze out the softened roasted garlic cloves into the serving bowl with the pasta.  Add the reserved pasta water.  Remove the roasted veggies from the oven and add to the serving bowl.  Toss gently to combine.

Add the chopped parsley on top of the pasta, and sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top.  Serve immediately.

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE eggplant. Unfortunately, my nursing children cannot handle it. It makes them gassy and crabby. :) I cannot wait until I can eat eggplant again!!! - Michele


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