Last week, a good friend of mine texted me, "I just made a very involved pasta salad". At the time, I thought, "hmm, okay cool... random, send me the recipe." But now after having made said pasta salad, I realize how much that is the understatement of the year. "Very involved" is exactly how I would describe it. Don't believe the New York Times' estimated prep time of forty-five minutes - it took me closer to an hour and a half or two hours to make.
But it is pretty delicious. And a ton of food.
2 lb ripe campari tomatoes, cut in wedges
5 Tbsp Olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 or 3 garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
2 Tbsp capers, rinsed and chopped (optional)
2 medium eggplants, about 1 pound
12 oz whole wheat ziti or other short pasta
6 oz mild feta
1 small bunch of basil, for garnish
1. Heat broiler. Put tomato wedges in a shallow baking dish in one layer. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Broil tomatoes about 2 inches from heat until softened and lightly charred, 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside until cool, and then add garlic, and red pepper flakes and capers, if desired. Stir gently to distribute.
2. Slice eggplant into long strips about 1/4-inch thick. Paint the top of eggplant strips with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Lower oven temperature to 400 degrees and roast eggplant for 10-15 minutes, or until soft.
3. Boil the pasta until al dente. Drain and rinse briefly, and blot dry. Put the pasta in a wide serving bowl, and add tomato mixture and eggplant. Toss gently to distribute. Taste for salt and hot pepper and adjust.
4. Crumble cheese over top. Drizzle with tomato juices leftover in the pan, and garnish with chopped basil.
Adapted from: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1016647-cool-ziti-with-eggplant-and-tomatoes
Allergens: wheat, milk
Nutrition (1/6 recipe): 330 calories, 19 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 25 mg cholesterol, 338 mg sodium, 786 mg potassium, 34 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber, 10 g protein, 25% vitamin A, 32% vitamin C, 17% calcium, 11% iron 23% vitamin B-6, 10% vitamin E, 16% copper, 16% copper, 18% folate, 17% magnesium, 61% manganese, 14% niacin, 14% pantothenic acid, 23% phosphorous, 24% riboflavin, 29% selenium, 20% thiamin, 11% zinc
Cost (1/6 recipe): $3.08
P.S. The quality of the pasta salad was decreased by about the fourth day - especially the eggplant. So, unless you are making it for a party or a group, you probably want to cut the recipe in half to make sure it gets eaten.