I apologize for the amount of pasta posts lately but I promise this is a good one. It’s also another meatless one and my meat loving husband actually admitted that he didn’t miss the meat in this dish so you know this recipe is a winner! It’s a rare occurence for my husband to admit he likes something without meat.
Yesterday was a busy day. Between work, running some errands and meeting up with friends later that night, I didn’t have much time to throw together a dinner but once the vegetables were roasted, dinner came together quickly. I had leftover eggplant, mushrooms, and red bell peppers in my fridge that needed to be used up and I planned on using this recipe to do that. It’s one of my favorite ways to eat eggplant and it’s so simple but the recipe is more of a side dish than an actual main course so I was still unsure of what I was going to make to complete the meal. And then, all of a sudden, the idea hit me. I felt like a character in a comic book. You know, the ones who get a light bulb drawn over their head when a brilliant idea dawns on them? I mean, this definitely wasn’t an earth shattering idea, but I felt pretty smart for coming up with it in such a short amount of time. I decided to turn the balsamic roasted vegetables, one of my favorite side dishes, into the main course by adding them to some pasta and making a spicy tomato sauce to go with it.
I hope you think this recipe is as brilliant as I did or at the very least, I hope it satisfies your pasta craving.
1 medium sized eggplant, cut into bite sized pieces
1.5 cups of sliced baby portabella mushrooms
1 red bell pepper, cut into bite sized pieces
olive oil (about 4 tablespoons total)
salt & pepper
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
1 onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 15. oz can of tomato sauce
1.5 teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 lb. of orecchiette
3/4 cup of parmesan cheese
For the roasted vegetables:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the eggplant, mushrooms and red bell pepper on a baking sheet. Toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper and lay the vegetables in a single layer. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes. Once the vegetables are done, pour the balsamic vinegar over them while they are still warm and toss to coat. Set to the side.
For the spicy tomato sauce:
1. Heat a pan over medium heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add in the onion and sautee for five minutes. Add the garlic and sautee for one more minute.
2. Add the can of diced tomatoes and the tomato sauce to the pan and bring up to a simmer. Stir in the red pepper flakes, the sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Turn the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for 15 minutes.
For putting the dish together:
1. While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add in the pound of orechiette pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain and transfer back to the hot pot that the pasta cooked in.
2. Add the roasted vegetables to the pot with the pasta. Then add the tomato sauce that has been simmering. Stir in the 3/4 cup of parmesan cheese and toss everything to combine. Serve in bowls with extra parmesan cheese if desired.