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:
Summer Vegetable Pasta
- 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
- dried basil
- 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.
- 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.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente. Mix pasta, pesto, vegetables, and (peeled & chopped) roasted garlic, and serve.