So to my eternal sadness, I am not Italian at all. Not even a tiny little bit. But I loooove pasta. I mean, who doesn’t really? (One of the saddest times of my life was then I did the South Beach diet before my wedding and couldn’t eat it. It was rough.) I have many good pasta recipes but this is the one my husband and toddler both inhale. In fact, recently AA said it was one of his favorite things I cook. And if you ignore all the no-carb people (all things in moderation!), it’s pretty healthy (lots of colorful veggies!)
I don’t know about you, but I have kind of a love/hate relationship with eggplant. As a vegetarian I’ve had a lot of bad eggplant wedding dishes and greasy eggplant parmesan. It can be rubbery or flavorless or just not good. Eventually I discovered it’s best roasted (or grilled) until it almost dissolves and gets sweet. You could add any other veggies you happen to have on hand, it’s a flexible recipe. Bell peppers or a dark leafy green like kale would be good. Or mushrooms if you like that sort of thing (not me!). It’s a great way to deal with a CSA box that’s a little too full and an excellent way to get veggies into kids!
Roasted Eggplant Pasta
1 large or three small eggplants
3 tomatoes (4-5 Roma tomatoes or a container of cherry tomatoes would also work)
1 large onion
4-5 cloves of garlic
1 box of whole wheat pasta
grated Parmesan cheese
a handful of fresh basil
1. Preheat your oven to 375, slice your eggplant and onion into 1/2 inch slices and quarter your tomatoes. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil, arrange them all, including the garlic cloves, and then spray the vegetables with oil again.
2. Roast approx. 30-45 minutes until the veggies are soft and carmelized. I had to take the eggplant out before the onions and tomatoes. Flip the veggies over halfway through. When they are done they will look delicious!
3. Let them cool until you can handle them and then chop into small pieces. At the same time, start boiling your pasta water. When the veggies are chopped, put them in a large saute pan.
4. If you tomatoes aren’t very sweet, add a little squirt of honey. Add some salt and pepper to taste and then cook slowly over medium heat until they kind of dissolve and mix together into a chunky sauce. If the veggies get dry, add a ladle full of pasta water.
5. When the water is boiling, make sure to salt it liberally. (I heard somewhere once that pasta water should taste like the sea. If your pasta recipes always seem like they’re missing something, this is probably it.) Then add your dry pasta.
6. While the pasta is cooking, get your basil. I had to pick mine from our balcony (why yes, I do live on the 13th floor and still have a vegetable garden!) I love basil so I picked a large handful.
7. When the pasta is al dente, drain it. (Whole wheat pasta takes a little longer to cook than white pasta, just so you know.)
8. Add the pasta to the sauce and stir. Let is sit for a couple minutes to absorb any liquid. Then add a biiiiiig handful of grated parmesan. (I’m from Wisconsin, you can never have enough cheese!) I like grated parmesan instead of shredded because it almost dissolves and makes the pasta all creamy. (But not the grated kind in the green can. I don’t even think that’s really cheese…)
9. Roughly chop and add the fresh basil.