Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Roasted Vegetables and Spinach With Pasta

Roasted Vegetables and Spinach with Pasta

1 pound eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large red onion, cut into thin wedges
3 yellow and/or green sweet peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 11-ounce can condensed tomato bisque soup
1 cup water
12 ounces dried cut ziti or rotini pasta (about 4 cups)
1 6-ounce bag prewashed baby spinach (about 8 cups)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (4 ounces)

1. Preheat oven to 4oo degrees. In an ungreased 9x13-inch baking dish combine eggplant, red onion, sweet peppers, and the 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. Roast, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes until vegetables begin to brown, stirring twice.

2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan heat the 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium heat. Add thyme, fennel seeds, black pepper, crushed red pepper, and garlic. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in tomato bisque soup. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain well and return to pan. Add tomato bisque soup mixture and roasted vegetables; toss to coat. Stir in spinach.

4. Spoon pasta mixture into the same baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.

Recipe found in 9x13 The Pan that Can

From My Experience: I wanted to make this recipe because I've always wanted to try eggplant. I had tried cooking it once, but it turned out terrible. Now after making this recipe I realized I just don't like eggplant. It turns a brown color when cooked and has a spongy texture that was unpleasant to me. Without the eggplant, I would have liked this recipe. If I made it again, I would use roasted broccoli or asparagus instead. In making this recipe, I used more crushed red pepper than called for, so it was spicy! And when I started fishing around in my spice basket, I realized I didn't have fennel seeds, so I just didn't use them. Use whatever cheese you have or none at all; I used parmesan cheese and I liked the crunchy texture it gave on top. My husband had the same opinion on eggplant, but I think he was also turned away since there was not meat included. I tried to sneak that past him! Meat such as chicken, ground beef, or italian sausage could easily be added although you might need a bigger casserole dish. Happy cooking!

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