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It’s always rather exciting when members of my family go away for a week or two, because their dietary preferences go with them. Which, of course, means that I get to cook with ingredients that are normally off-limits. This week’s ingredient: the eggplant.

I bought three at the farmers’ market on Saturday, along with some other beautiful summer produce. I wasn’t sure what to pair the eggplant with, but I decided that I couldn’t possibly go wrong with bell peppers and zucchini. After all, I thought, they do share a season. So of course that means they must go well together... I hope.

But what to do with the vegetables?

Do you remember back here, when I bemoaned my inability to keep a plant alive? Well, there’s one exception to that. Basil. In the corner by the roses… it’s a bit out of control, but it’s very happy! And so am I, because it means that no matter how much pesto I make, the basil never runs out.

So: pesto + summer vegetables… Pasta. Of course. And here it is:

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Summer Vegetable Pasta

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 150 g whole-wheat fusili
  • 1 eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-cm cubes
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 small zucchini, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 T olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • paprika
  • dried basil
  • pesto

Directions:

  1. Place chopped eggplant in a colander. Sprinkle with salt. Let it sit for about 35 minutes, until you see beads of water forming on the surface. (This helps draw out the bitterness.) Preheat oven to 420°F.
  2. Rinse eggplant well and pat dry. Toss with a 1 tablespoon of olive oil, a bit of salt, and a liberal sprinkle of paprika. Spread on a baking tray. Then, toss bell pepper and zucchini with the rest of the olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried basil. Spread on another baking tray. Place 2 cloves garlic (skins on) on tray as well. Roast vegetables for 20 minutes or until soft and slightly caramelized, stirring halfway through.
  3. Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente. Mix pasta, pesto, vegetables, and (peeled & chopped) roasted garlic, and serve.

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