Say hello to one of my very favourite pastas. This has it all – fresh, flavourful and packed with veggie goodness but so tasty and filling that you don’t feel that you’re eating something that’s really pretty good for you! It’s also something I can happily eat on a hot sunny day (although cooking it might be a different story!)
This recipe started the same way a lot of mine seem to – using up leftover bits of veg. Nowadays, it’s become the meal we buy the veg for in the first place! It’s inspired by the simple Italian method of making pasta whereby the olive oil is used to create a “sauce” instead of having a heavier tomato or cream-based sauce. I tell you no lies when I say that we eat this once a week without fail now.
The way you cook this dish means that the aubergine and courgette soak up the olive oil and then slowly releases it back into the pan all infused with their lovely flavours. All it needs is lovely tangy feta, some fresh basil, salt and black pepper – in fact you may be gobsmacked to notice this doesn’t include any garlic. Yes, I am capable of cooking without it!
As a base recipe this is absolutely delicious and vegetarian. If you do want to add some meat (or fish), the salmon works really well, as does some cooked chunks of chicken. You could even add some chopped prosciutto or Parma ham for a bit of extra fragrant meatiness. We made it exactly as written the first time and I’ve since tried adding and removing things and playing around with quantities and different herbs. The unescapable conclusion from all of this experimenting is that it was perfect just the way it was. Of course, feel free to experiment with it and you may come to a different conclusion but we love it just like this so that’s how I’m sharing it with you.
All that being said, I do have to admit that there was one experiment which did produce a slightly different (and very delicious) outcome. I am an absolute sucker for free samples – perfumes, food, cosmetics, anything really. I came across an offer on Facebook from a little local business that does infused olive oils, balsamic vinegar and the like. They were doing an introductory offer for 2 of their oils and 2 of their balsamic vinegars in a set for free, with just a small fee for P&P. Despite being very excited about them, when they finally came I was kind of at a loss as to what to do with them…. until the day I had put this pasta down on our meal plan! I cooked the vegetables in the rosemary and garlic infused olive oil and drizzled the finished pasta with a bit of caramelised onion infused balsamic before serving. I wouldn’t say the pasta was mind-blowingly better than usual but the infused oil and balsamic definitely added a little je ne sais quoi!
Another great thing about this pasta is that it’s pretty easy and quick to whip up for dinner if you’ve had a long day and feel like you need some refuelling. It goes well with a simple salad to increase your veggie intake some more or if you do have the time on your hands why not try it with Herb and cheese topped focaccia to mop all that lovely veggie infused olive oil that’s left – you won’t be disappointed!
So let me know what you think! Did you add anything or make any changes that you loved? Get in touch via the comments section or by using the Contact Me from on the site. I’m also on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter so tag away! Enjoy DDx.Print