There is something about this time of year that makes me crave pasta. Granted I’m Italian so I could eat it all the time, but when the weather starts to get cooler I find myself wanting it even more than normal. While I have plenty of go-to recipes for pasta dishes that are more on the super cheesy comfort food side of things, this time I wanted something a little bit lighter. But still filling and comforting.
This dish fit the bill perfectly. It is packed full of veggies and flavor, yet is not weighed down by tons of cheese or heavy sauce. Yet it’s still substantial and filled us up for an easy weeknight dinner. Once you get all the vegetables chopped, this dish comes together fairly quickly. While I loved the combination of vegetables, you could easily change it up based on what you have on hand. New weeknight dinner item to add to our normal rotation? Done and done.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
- red pepper flakes, to taste
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 (28-ounce) can Italian tomatoes
- ¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
- pinch of sugar
- 2 baby eggplants, sliced lengthwise about 1 inch in thickness
- 2 zucchini, sliced lengthwise about 1 inch in thickness
- ⅓ cup packed fresh basil, chopped
- 12 ounces whole wheat rotini pasta (or another similar shape)
- freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Add the 2 tablespoons olive oil to a large skillet set over medium heat. When hot, add the onion, peppers, thyme, red pepper flakes and salt/pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes. Add the tomatoes (with their juices) and use a wooden spoon to gently break them up. Next, add in the chicken broth and stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium-high and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the sugar and adjust the salt/pepper if needed.
- Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Place the eggplant and zucchini on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush both sides of the slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Broil for about 5 minutes then flip over the slices. Broil for about 5 minutes longer, until the vegetables are tender. Cut into bite-size pieces and add to the sauce. Lower the heat back to medium and cook the sauce for another 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the fresh basil.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Toss to combine.
- Spoon the pasta into serving dishes. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Adapted from Williams and Sonoma Weeknight Fast & Fresh.