Vegetarian Pasta

I think I could easily be a vegetarian. We just had lunch at an Indian restaurant and I had no meat dishes. I like meat well enough, but boy the Indians know how to cook vegetables. You don’t really need the meat.

Same with this dish. You could add meat I suppose, but you don’t really need it. The eggplant really substitutes for the meat.

If you can find them use angel hair pasta nests. They make the finished dish look really nice. Especially for guests.
De Cecco Pasta, Angel Hair Nests, 8.8 Ounce (Pack of 5)

Author: Jim Kirkley

The eggplant takes the place of meat in this recipe. Try it, you’ll like it.

Serves: 4

Vegetarian Pasta


INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup, robust extra virgin olive oil
1 pound, angel hair nests
1 medium, eggplant – peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
2 zucchini – diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1 large, onion – chopped fine
5 cloves, garlic – chopped fine
1 teaspoon, red pepper flakes – or to taste
1 yellow bell pepper –¬†chopped
1 red bell pepper – chopped
1 cup, cherry tomatoes – cut in half
1/2 cup, Italian parsley – chopped
2 tablespoons, all-purpose flour
1 cup, vegetable broth
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese – grated
1/2 cup, Ricotta Salata or Feta cheese – optional

METHOD

  1. Liberally salt the eggplant, toss and place in a colander to drain while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Do not rinse.
  2. In a large, high-sided non-stick frying pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add eggplant and fry, tossing occasionally, until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  3. In the same pan, add zucchini, sprinkle with a bit of salt and fry until lightly golden about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  4. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of oil. Add onions and saute until translucent. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and stir for 30 seconds. Add flour and cook for one minute.
  5. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. If the sauce appears too thick add more broth.
  6. Add yellow and red peppers and tomatoes. Squeeze some of the tomatoes to release the juice. Reduce heat and simmer.
  7. Bring plenty of salted water to a boil in a 12 inch, steep sided frying pan.
  8. Add angel hair nests, one at a time making one layer, do not crowd or allow to overlap. There should be 3 nests per person. They should all fit into pan.
  9. Cook the nests until they begin to come apart slightly (about 8 minutes).
  10. Add 1/2 of the parsley to the sauce and stir. If using, add the Ricotta Salata or the Feta and stir to combine.
  11. Lift each nest with a slotted spoon and place 3 nests in an individual pasta bowl and top with a bit of the sauce.
  12. Finish with a spoonful of Parmesan and a sprinkle of chopped parsley.

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