I found this recipe in the Plain Dealer recently and thought I would try it. It is really so good. Some of you - who may or may not be my children - might think you won't like it because of the eggplant, but, really, give it a try. We found it to be especially good as a vegetarian dinner on a rainy November evening. It was not as good when I re-heated it for a side dish, but I think it might have been because the vegetables lost their freshly-roasted flavor and texture.
Rotini with Smoky Eggplant and Red Pepper Sauce
makes 4 servings
1 large eggplant, cut in half
3 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into quarters
8 oz. rotini
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbps. lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat broiler. Place eggplant halves, cut side down, in the center of the broiler pan. With a small sharp knife, prick through the skin of each half in several places. Arrange the peppers, cut side down, around the eggplant. Broil the vegetables until the pepper skins have blackened, about 20 minutes. Transfer the peppers to a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for 10 minutes to loosen the skins. Return the eggplant to the broiler and cook until the skin has blackened and the flesh is completely softened, about another 10 minutes.
While the vegetables broil, cook the rotini in lightly salted water, according to package directions. In a large, bowl, combine the olive oil, parsley, lemon juice and garlic. When the eggplant is done, let it cool slightly, then use a large spoon to scrape the flesh from the skin onto a cutting board. Don't worry if the eggplant is "seedy". Chop the flesh to a chunky consistency and tranfer to the bowl with the olive oil mixture. Stir well.
Peel and discard the blackened skin from the cooled red peppers. Coarsely chop the peppers and add them to the eggplant mixture. Drain the pasta, add it to the sauce and toss thoroughly to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!