Tuesday, November 2, 2010

For the Veggie Lovers

I don't consider myself a veggie lover.  I love cheese and chocolate and bread and anything vinegary.  But after making these last couple recipes I might be converted.  Both of these are easy and decently healthy as well!

Roasted Eggplant Penne (another Giada favorite)

1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 pint cherry tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, whole
3 T. olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 pound rigatoni  or penne pasta
1/4 cup torn fresh mint leaves
3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl combine the eggplant, cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Spread the vegetables out in an even layer on the baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 35 minutes.  Stir them to make sure they don't stick or you can line your pan with parchment paper.

The original recipe suggests roasting the pine nuts while the vegetables are roasting.  I tried this and burnt them twice.  Opps!!  I suggest roasting them after the veggies come out of the oven. Place the pine nuts in a small baking dish. Place in the oven, roast until golden, about 8 minutes. 8 minutes was way too long in my oven so make sure you check them!  You can also toast them in a pan on the stovetop if you prefer.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta into a large bowl and reserve 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid.

Transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor. Add the torn mint leaves and extra-virgin olive oil. Puree the vegetables.

Transfer the pureed vegetables to the bowl with the pasta and add the Parmesan. Stir to combine, adding the pasta cooking liquid 1/2 cup at a time until the pasta is saucy. I used whole wheat penne and instead of a pound it was 13.5 oz so I didn't need to add much of the pasta water to make the sauce.  Just make it as thick or thin as you like it! Sprinkle the pine nuts over the top and serve. (Clearly I skipped this step and you can too if you want.  It was super yummy without the pine nut!)

Vegetable Saute

This recipe has two parts; the veggies and the dressing.

Tarragon Vinaigrette

6 T extra-virgin olive oil
3 T white wine vinegar
2 T chopped fresh tarragon (I used dried-remember the conversion 1 T fresh = 1 tsp dried)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper

2 T olive oil
1 large shallot, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
8 oz mushrooms (she uses button, I use the cheap ones!)
1 bunch of asparagus (cut into thirds)
1 8oz package or can of artichoke hearts
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

This is SO easy and SO yummy!  I think the dressing is fabulous but I had WAY too much so I would suggest cutting the dressing recipe by half.

The dressing is easy.  Chop the tarragon if you are using fresh and then combine all ingredients!

For the veggies, saute the shallot and garlic in olive oil until tender (about 2 minutes).  Add the mushrooms and cook until golden.  Stir frequently.  Add the asparagus and artichokes and cook until the asparagus is tender (about 5 minutes).  Add the salt & pepper.

Toss with the vinaigrette and serve.

Seriously, this is yummy yummy yummy!!!  You can use any vegetable you want in this recipe.  This version called for teardrop tomatoes as well but I used them all making the eggplant pasta!  This is a great way to get your veggies in!!

I have a not so good for you but super delicious brownie recipe coming soon!!  If there is anything you want to know how to make but are afraid to try let me know.  I'll be glad to try it out for you!!


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