Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bounty Of The Garden Pasta

August 2010 117

  Ever have days when nothing is defrosted from the freezer and you’ve got to come up with something for dinner other than peanut butter sandwiches or a fried egg? For the most part, I’m not a “take-out” kind of gal unless you’re talking Indian food, where my culinary expertise is sorely lacking.

No, I’d rather rely on a box of pasta. It’s such a versatile ingredient that lends itself to any kind of sauce or ingredient – from walnuts to canned tuna to homemade meatballs. This time however, I had only to walk to the garden to draw inspiration.

The garden delivered the inspiration in spades -  eggplants, tomatoes and some lacinato kale (or Tuscan kale, which is used in ribollita). Bingo, my dinner plans were set.

I cubed the eggplant and laid them on a cookie sheet with the tomatoes, dribbled the whole thing with oil and some herbs and set the cookie sheet on the grill, to cook the veggies:

August 2010 115Meantime, I started the pasta cooking and for the last few minutes the kale was thrown in. 

August 2010 114

Drain the pasta and kale, add the grilled eggplant and tomatoes, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and dinner’s ready.

August 2010 116

Bounty of the Garden Pasta

printable recipe here

serves 2 to 4 depending on appetites

2 Japanese-style eggplants (or 1 large regular eggplant), cubed

2 cups grape tomatoes (or plum tomatoes)

1/4 cup olive oil

3 cloves garlic

fresh herbs (parsley, basil)

salt, pepper

1/2 pound ziti, penne or other pasta

handful of lacinato kale, or spinach if you prefer

olive oil to drizzle on top

parmesan cheese

Peel the eggplants if you like. What I do is peel off alternate strips of the eggplant, leaving some skin on. Place the eggplant pieces and the tomatoes on the cookie sheet with the olive oil and place over the grill for about five minutes.  Add the garlic, herbs, salt and pepper to the cookie sheet and grill another five minutes or until the eggplant is softened.

Meanwhile boil the pasta and for the last few minutes of the cooking time, add the kale. Save a bit of the pasta water in a cup, but drain the rest after the pasta is cooked.

In a large bowl, combine the grilled veggies with the pasta and the kale. Add some of the reserved water if needed. Drizzle with olive oil and top with grated parmesan cheese.

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  1. This looks simple and delicious. only about a month left of backyard grocery shopping!

  2. Fantastic! I'd love to have a garden.

    That plate is so pretty.



  3. On the super rare occasions that I get takeout, it's sushi all the way. the rest of the time, I make due with what I have! This looks like a superb clean-out-the-fridge, throw-together meal!

  4. Una vera meraviglia questa pasta. Ciao Daniela.

  5. You know I love this Linda, I could eat like this everyday, so healthy and fresh! I must try your technique of grilling everything on a sheet pan, the tomatoes look really good that way! Happy Sunday to you.

  6. It's simply glorious. I wish everyone could have a garden. I also wish I could drop by for Sunday dinner...

  7. I just came home from two weeks in California and I need to begin eating healthy again....this looks like a wonderful recipe to use up my ripe garden produce!

  8. Actually the eggplants are ready to pick in my garden so looks like this is our next dinner! The take out places would never survive if they had to rely on me! BTW Love the seafood salad and the story Gwen wrote!

  9. What could be better?
    I could eat this everyday.

  10. This is perfection in a bowl!!!!! And, an idea for tonight's dinner. I've been so busy planning menus for our son's visit, I completely overlooked the fact that we need to eat today.


  11. Pasta is always good in a pinch. Love all the garden fresh veggies you used in this dish.

  12. This looks so fresh and delicious!
    I could go for a bowl right this minute!
    I am envying your kale the stuff!

  13. I lvoe this dish and the name you gave it! Can't wait for the day to have a home with property so I can have my own garden too!

  14. I hear ya. You can't get much easier than pasta for fast and delicious dinners. Plus it's a whole lot cheaper than take out!

  15. Oh this is my kind of every single day meal, whether lunch or dinner or mid morning snack. Yep, I did say mid morning snack. lol.

    I LOVE Kale and have never thought of cooking it.... I usually just eat it as I wash or rinse it off. Wow, another entire avenue of yuuuum for me. I have always been the one to introduce folks to actually eat the green decorations on the entree plates.. whether parsley or kale or what ever.. if it is green and fresh I love it and I do eat my decorations always

    I am for sure going to try your recipe very soon and I already know I will just love it!

  16. What a perfect late summer meal. It incorporates the colors and flavors of the garden and is gorgeous to look at. I could eat this type of meal once a day. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

  17. What a fun pasta, full of lovely goodies and vibrant colours. Awesome!
    *kisses* HH

  18. Oh, yes, Linda. I can't tell you how many times I have turned to this pasta dish. Yours looks delicious! Save me some. :)

  19. Love the mixture of vegetables! To many people think pasta is sauce and noodles, how they are missing out.