Sunday, February 24, 2008

Pasta With Roasted Vegetables And Arugula

Angel hair pasta with veggies, arugula and tofu

A wonderful and succulent dish which is good hot or even at room temperature. You can vary the veggies according to the season or your preference. Children love to brown bag it for lunch in lieu of a sandwich! Just pack it in a resealable bags and include a fork! 

2 Japanese, Italian or Chinese Eggplants (1/2 lb)
1 large Red Bell Pepper
2 medium Zucchini (1 lb)
1 medium Red Onion
2 medium Roma Tomatoes
2 cloves Fresh Garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small bunch Arugula
1 lb. dry Pasta, any type
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 to 1/2 tsp Red Pepper flakes or ground Cayenne
1/2 cup Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 a Lemon (Optional)
4 Tbsp fresh mixed herbs (Italian Parsley, Basil, Marjoram, Oregano, Sage)


Wash all the vegetables and dry. Remove stems from eggplant, zucchini and the peppers. Peel and slice the onions. Cut them into big bite-sized pieces. Mix 2 Tbsp of the olive oil and a big pinch of salt and mix well to coat. Spread the veggies in a baking pan in a single layer and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 20 to 30 minutes or until veggies are soft and browned a little. Set aside.

Wash and dry the arugula. Separate the leaves, tender stem tips, flowers and buds (yes! the flowers and buds) from the stems and discard the tough stems. Set aside.

Cook the pasta according to manufacturer's directions and drain the water. Reserve about a cup of the cooking water.

Heat the rest of the olive oil, stir in red pepper flakes and add garlic and stir for about 30 seconds. Sprinkle the torn or chopped herbs; use just parsley or add a little of the other ones too according to your taste. Try just a little of the strongly flavored herbs such as marjoram and sage until you find your own special combination. Stir in the arugula one handful at a time to wilt. Add the hot pasta, the salt and pepper, the roasted veggies, and as much of the reserved cooking fluid as you wish to make it moist. Stir well to combine. Serve hot with lemon wedges,the grated Parmesan cheese, and more freshly ground black pepper if you wish.

Note: Stir fried Tofu slices or a cup of Canellini or Red Kidney Beans make a great addition to this pasta dish. Rapini (looks like leafy broccoli - mostly leafy), broccoli, kale, spinach or green cabbage can be substituted for the arugula. Do try arugula at least once; it loses its bite and becomes very mellow when cooked.

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