Cooking is all about creativity. Some cooks are clever in how they disguise “healthy” foods, like the old hidden cauliflower puree trick. Others combine unusual ingredients in jarring but delightful ways, like black pepper with strawberries. My creativity kicks into full gear whenever I see eggplant.
I love eggplant. But my kids don’t. My husband even frowns a bit when he knows it’s on the menu. His mama raised him well, so he’ll eat it. But he’s not exactly excited. So when I saw two Japanese eggplants in my CSA delivery, I knew I’d need to pull out all the stops.
This being soccer night, I also knew that whatever I made, it would need to be ready in advance and quick to reheat. Then it hit me: Pasta with Roasted Summer Vegetables. At 1 o’clock, between games of Old Maid with my son, I cranked up the oven and loaded it with a tray of sliced eggplant, onions and squash. Then I cooked a box of whole wheat spaghetti and drizzled it with extra-virgin olive oil to prevent sticking. Into the fridge everything went. After practice, in less time than it took my daughter to take off her shin guards, dinner was ready. And they were so excited to see noodles, no one even noticed the eggplant.
Pasta with Roasted Summer Vegetables
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice 2 Japanese eggplants and sprinkle them with salt. Let them sit while you slice one onion and one or two yellow squash. If you’d like, squash can be sliced in half lengthwise, then cut into 1/4″ pieces. Dab eggplant with a towel to remove excess water, then toss vegetables together with just enough olive oil to coat lightly. Add salt and pepper and place on a foil-lined cookie sheet (for easy clean-up). Let roast for 30-40 minutes, or until vegetables are soft and browned in spots.
Boil a pot of water and cook as much whole wheat spaghetti or rotini as you need. I usually do the whole box and use just what I need for the recipe, reserving the rest for school lunches or after-school snacks. When the noodles are done, toss with extra virgin olive oil and the vegetables, then add kosher salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with a generous amount of parmesan and chopped basil before serving.
Vegetables ready for the oven
After roasting and oh so yummy