Roasted veggie ratatouille pasta

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Well, I found some gorgeous veggies at my favorite produce wonder-market last weekend (check out these variegated squash and mini-eggplants!), and they were just begging to be made into something delicious! I hope you’ll agree this recipe is worthy of them. I’m a big fan of ratatouille (a traditional Provencal vegetable stew), but I realized when I started experimenting that oven-roasting the veggies brings their flavor to a whole new level compared to the conventional stovetop method. It takes just a teeny bit of extra effort but it’s well worth it in the end! The hearty roasted veggies in a tomato sauce combine beautifully with pasta. This recipe makes enough for 4 generous servings, or plenty of leftovers for lunches.

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Ingredients:

  • one 8 ounce package of angel hair or spaghetti (I used brown rice angel hair pasta)
  • one 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 4-6 mini-eggplants, or 1 medium to large regular eggplant
  • 3 medium sized summer squash (eg yellow or green zucchini)
  • 4-6 mini sweet peppers
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • about 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp wine (I used leftover cabernet, pretty much any kind is fine for this recipe)
  • sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black papper
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme, or 1 tsp dried

Fire up your oven to 400F and get some water boiling in a medium sized pot on the stove for the pasta. Cut your eggplants into roughly 1-inch chunks and place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with sea salt (about 1 tbsp) and extra virgin olive oil (about 1/4 cup) and toss to distributed the oil evenly.

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Place on the bottom shelf of your oven and get them roasting. Next, dice the onion and get it sauteeing in a large frying pan or wok over medium-low heat with 2 Tbsp of the olive oil.

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Meanwhile, back to the other veggies. Chop the peppers and squash into 1/2 inch pieces and place in a baking sheet or dish, along with 2 Tbsp of olive oil, a sprinkling of sea salt, the fresh ground black pepper, and the thyme leaves. Toss to distribute the spices and oil evenly, and put in the oven on the top shelf.

ratapasta4Meanwhile, periodically mix the onions as they saute. When they are starting to turn translucent and soft, add in the wine and give them another good stir. Your kitchen should be smelling wonderful about now! Next, add in the crushed tomatoes and increase the heat slightly, covering the pan to prevent splatter.

After the eggplant has been roasting for about 15 min it should be ready – it will shrink, soften and the edges will be turning brown. You want it cooked into submission, until it caramelizes – no undercooked eggplant allowed. Add the roasted eggplant in to your tomato sauce and let it cook for a few minutes.

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When your pasta water is boiling, add the noodles and cook according to package instructions. A few minutes later, your other veggies should be about ready – you want them just browning on the edges and nice and soft, but not mushy. Add these to your sauce.

Finally, drain your noodles once al dente, and add these in. Let them cook a few minutes in the sauce. Making sure you’re not wearing a white shirt. Dig in and enjoy!!!

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