Continuing my series of easy, one-pot meals except this uses two – one for boiling and the other for roasting, and that is all. I know most people would have their own version that they serve when they have had a wee bit too much meat and fancy something veggie, colourful, and wholesome. It is easy peasy, to boot! The secret is to mix in some of the pasta cooking liquid at the end to make it rich and creamy, but without the calories. For a more robust flavour, add a tablespoon of your favourite sun-dried tomato paste or pesto. The penne may be substituted with any other short pasta, e.g. fusilli, farfalle or rigatoni.
PENNE WITH ROASTED VEGETABLES
3-4 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
10-12 shallots, peeled (if large, cut into half lengthwise)
1 aubergine (eggplant), cut into ½-inch cubes
2 courgettes (zucchini), cut into half lengthwise and cut into ½- inch slices
2 red peppers, cut into chunks
2 yellow peppers, cut into chunks
250 (8 oz) cherry tomatoes, halved
3 tbsp chopped parsley
Liquid from cooking the pasta
Preheat oven to 350℉, 180℃ electric or 170℃ fan, gas mark 4.
Drizzle the olive oil into a large roasting pan. Add garlic, salt and black pepper to the pan. Add all the vegetables to the pan and using two spatulas, mix everything up really well so that vegetables are coated with oil and seasoning.
Place in oven and roast for 25 minutes. Remove pan from oven and give it another good stir with your spatulas. Return pan to oven and continue to roast for another 20 minutes or until vegetables are cooked and slightly charred.
While the vegetables are roasting, bring a large pan of water to boil and cook the pasta, following instructions on the pack but making sure your pasta is al dente rather than soft and soggy. Drain and reserve some of the cooking liquid (about 100ml or ⅓ cup). Try and time the pasta to finish when the vegetables are ready as you want the pasta to remain hot.
When vegetables are ready, sprinkle over the parsley and pour over the pasta and the sun-dried tomato paste or pesto, if you are using. Using your spatulas, mix everything together. The heat from the vegetables and pasta will release the flavours and aroma of the parsley. Add enough of the cooking liquid until the mixture is moist and smooth. Season to taste and serve immediately with baguettes for a healthy yet satisfying meal.