Around here summer is quickly moving in the direction of fall. Although I am anxiously anticipating the arrival of persimmons, parsnips, and Brussel sprouts, I am sad to see summer coming to an end. So before it completely disappears I wanted to celebrate its fruitful bounty with a big pasta dish of my favorite Mediterranean flavors. I don't think anything screams summer to me more than a mix of grilled summer vegetables, glazed with balsamic vinegar, and tossed with al dente Papparadelle, lemon-garlic dressing, olives, and pine nuts.
I grilled the vegetables in my oven, but if you have an outdoor grill by all means use it. Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil and let it cook on the grill alongside the vegetables. And if you're gluten-free, don't think this pasta dish is not for you! Use brown rice noodles or quinoa pasta, or sub in cooked quinoa and turn this into a big quinoa salad platter.
This is a festive, crowd-pleasing pasta and a summer favorite for us. So get out the largest pasta bowl you own and make this for your next outdoor get-together. I hope it becomes a favorite of yours too.
Ratatouille Pasta Salad
Notes: Gluten-free? No problem...use brown rice pasta, quinoa pasta, or turn this into a large quinoa salad platter.
- 375 gr (3/4 of lb.) papparadelle or tagliatelle
- Mug full of reserved pasta water
- 1 juicy lemon
- 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- Balsamic Grilled Vegetables (recipe below)
- Large handfull pine nuts, toasted
- Handful Kalamata olives, pitted
- Bunch of basil, torn
- Cook pasta to al dente (usually 1-2 minutes shy of package directions). Reserve a mug full of pasta water before draining.
- In the meantime, in a very large mixing bowl add zest and juice of lemon, olive oil, balsamic (or leftover balsamic dressing used to glaze vegetables, if there is any), and cooked mashed garlic. Season generously with salt and pepper.
- se tongs to toss cooked, chopped vegetables with pasta. Fold in pine nuts, olives, and basil.
- Finish with extra black pepper and serve family-style immediately, with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to pass at the table.
Balsamic Grilled Vegetables
Notes: I used 2 small-mediumzucchini, 1 small eggplant, 1 red onion, 1 red bell pepper, and 1 carton cherry tomatoes. Use as many or few vegetables as you'd like. I cooked cherry tomatoes last because they need less time, 4-5 min total. You can also leave them raw and toss them into pasta at the end.
- Mix of summer vegetables*
- 1 large clove garlic, with skin on
- 2 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil, melted
- 2-3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- Generous pinches of salt/pepper
- Set oven to broil. Mix coconut oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper in a large bowl. On a large cutting board, cut eggplant and zucchini in 1/4 inch planks on a diagonal. Remove core from bell pepper and cut into 4 pieces. Slice onion into 1/2 inch thick rounds, leaving layers intact.
- Toss vegetables with dressing in bowl (be careful to keep onion mostly intact) and place on baking sheet. This may need to be done in several batches, depending on the amount of vegetables you use. Cook garlic clove with first two batch, or until soft to the touch.
- Broil in upper third of the oven for 4-5 minutes, flip, and cook another 3-4 minutes. Repeat with remaining batches.
- Chop vegetables into bite size pieces. Remove garlic from skin and use a fork to mash into a paste. Mix into lemon dressing made below.