Thursday, April 3, 2008

Tricolor Pasta (Pasta with Greens and Red Bell Pepper)

The white pasta, delectable bright red roasted bell pepper, and the succulent greens make a lovely presentation of the Italian flag colors but includes an international cast of vegetables such as Italian Zucchini, Japanese Eggplant, and Chinese Bok Choy :)!

The fact that the vegetables can be prepared ahead of time makes it very convenient. The bell peppers, eggplant, broccoli, and zucchinis can be roasted one or two days before and refrigerated until ready to use. In fact you can bake extra veggies when preparing Roasted Vegetable Sandwiches and save the extra for this dish. Wash, dry and slice the greens and herbs one day before. Then on the day of serving, cook the pasta, the garlic and tender greens, and combine all together.

8 Servings

Ingredients:

1 lb dry pasta, any type
1/2 lb Baby Bok Choy
2 large Red Bell Peppers
2 medium Japanese or Chinese Eggplants
2 medium Zucchini
1 medium bunch Broccoli Rabe or regular Broccoli
1 small bunch Basil
1 small bunch Italian Parsley
1 small bunch Arugula
1 medium Red Onion
2 or 3 cloves of Fresh Garlic
2 sprigs fresh Marjoram (1/2 tsp dry)
1/2 tsp dry Red Chili flakes
Salt to taste
1 tsp or more Freshly ground Black Pepper
4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Method:

Wash and dry all the vegetables.

Coat the bell peppers lightly with a little oil and bake or broil until all sides are slightly charred. Put in a brown bag or a container and keep covered to sweat and cool. When cool, hold over a plate or bowl to catch the flavorful juices, remove the stem and seeds and peel off the skin. Keep aside until ready to use. If made ahead, keep refrigerated in a covered container.

Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise; slice crosswise diagonally into bite sized pieces. Peel and slice the onions thinly. Combine eggplant pieces and onions with a tiny bit of oil and a pinch of salt. Spread in a thin layer and roast for 15 minutes or until eggplant is soft and lightly browned.

While the eggplant is cooking, prepare the zucchini and broccoli. Cut into bite sized pieces and coat with a little oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast for 10 minutes.

While the vegetables are roasting, wash the bok choy and the arugula. Slice the bok choy coarsely. Strip the leaves and tender tips of arugula; discard the stems. Peel and slice the garlic thinly. Strip the leaves from the herbs and chop coarsely.

While cooking the veggies bring a large pot of water to boil with a Tbsp of salt and stir the pasta in. Bring to boil again and turn heat off. Let the pasta cook covered undisturbed for about 10 minutes or until tender but still firm to the bite. Drain the pasta reserving about a cup of the cooking water.

Heat a large skillet or wok with the rest of the olive oil and stir in the red chili flakes. Stir for a few seconds and add the garlic with a pinch of salt and some pepper and cook until they turn slightly golden. Stir in herbs, bok choy and arugula and cook until wilted.

Stir in the hot pasta with the cooking liquid and all the roasted veggies into the greens and herb mixture. Stir to combine well. Serve hot with grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese and freshly ground pepper. It is delicious at room temperature or even cold - great for lunch bags too :)!

Variation: Cut the bell pepper in half; remove stems, seeds and membranes. Cut into bite sized pieces. combine with the eggplant and onions with a little of the olive oil (about 1 tsp) and a pinch of salt. Place in a single layer in an oiled baking pan and roast in a 400 degree F oven for about 15 minutes or until soft and lightly browned.

All of the vegetables can also be stir fried in batches instead of roasting to make this dish.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

dear geetha,i have searched sugar candy but couldn't .

so pls give me some idea about the preparation of amla sugar candy and whether the original nutrients will retain if we boil for making candy,earlier i have tried but the boiled amla not get dried and also want to know whether i can use country sugar (vellam or kottayam sarkarai ie not the crystal sugar)

Anonymous said...

whether bell pepper is having any significant nutrients/vits?

Geetha said...

Hello Anon, RE: Amla candy - I don't make candy and this one is new to me. Any fruit or veggie will lose some nutrients when cooked at high temperatures and for a long time as is the case with candy making. I don't see why you could not use the alternate sweeteners such as vellam - although delicious, they will produce a dish with their own flavors quite different from white sugar. Have fun testing :)

Geetha said...

Hi Anon, Bell peppers or Capsicums are powerhouses of nutrients - esp. carotenoids, Vitamins C & E, and a lot of minerals and antioxidants. The ripe ones have more nutrients than the green ones. They are low in calories too. Enjoy them fresh and cooked. :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Geetha , Thanks for your reply regarding bell pepper that it is power house of nutrients which i hope only a very few know.Tks for your reply

Anonymous said...

Dear Geetha,regarding cooking of veg/fruits pls give your views as i have studied that nutrients in almost all vegetables/fruits will tend to increase or become easily digestible when cooked .

Also fruits/vegetables like amla,lime,grapes (while making kissmiss ie dry grapes) bittergourd,moringa,brinjal,bhendi when cooked and dried under sun will not loose any nutrients is it correct or not particularly amla and bittergourd.

Also what is the best method to utilize vegetables ie steam cooked or cooked in water and if you give the good explanation how to steam cook all like will be much thanful

Anonymous said...

Dear Geetha,

Pls post your views reg cooking of vegetables/fruits for my request on july 9 ,2012

Geetha said...

Hello Anon, Vegetables and fruits are at their best when they are fresh; some vitamins and nutrients are lost or destroyed when they are processed whether it be sun drying or cooking. So veggies should be cooked for the least amount of time at least possible temperatures. Steaming or stir frying is better than boiling in water. Happy cooking! :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Geetha,

Tks for your explanation reg steaming/cooking/vegetables/fruits