Spicy Roasted Ratatouille with Spaghetti

DSC04749The farmers’ market is brimming with eggplant, zucchini, squash and peppers this time of year. When a co-worker recommended this recipe for spicy roasted ratatoille and spaghetti, it seemed like a great way to savor the season’s bounty. I love how this dish features more vegetables than pasta, and how the roasted veggies take on the flavors of balsamic vinegar, garlic and olive oil from roasting. It was a very good meal—perfect for early fall. Oh, and if you haven’t checked out Cookie + Kate, it’s an excellent blog that focuses on fresh, vegetarian recipes.

Spicy Roasted Ratatouille with Spaghetti (from Cookie + Kate; serves 6)

2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound), diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 medium yellow squash, diced
1 medium red bell pepper (or orange or yellow), diced
1 medium yellow or white onion, diced
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
6 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Red pepper flakes
½ pound (8 ounces) whole grain spaghetti
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried oregano)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit with two racks in the middle positions. On a quarter pan or small baking dish, toss the whole baby tomatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the diced eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, bell pepper and onion. Whisk together ¼ cup olive oil, the balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt, a few generous twists black pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Drizzle it over the vegetables and toss with your hands or a large spoon until the vegetables are evenly coated.
On a half-sheet pan or other large, rimmed baking sheet, arrange the vegetables in a single layer. Place the tomatoes on the lower oven rack and the vegetables on the upper rack. Set the timer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large post of salted water to boil. Cook pasta until al dente, according to package directions. Before draining, reserve about 1 cup pasta cooking water. Transfer the cooked pasta to a large serving bowl.

After 20 minutes, remove both pans from the oven. The tomatoes should be bursting and juicy by now, in which case, they’re done cooking. Use a spatula to toss the vegetables, then arrange them in a single layer again and put them back in the oven for an additional 10 minutes or so, until they are cooked through and golden.

Pour the cherry tomatoes and their juices over the spaghetti into the serving bowl. If you want your pasta to be pretty cheesy, now’s the time to sprinkle on a generous handful of shredded Parmesan. Add a baby splash of pasta cooking water and toss until the pasta is coated with a light tomato sauce. Add the cooked vegetables to the bowl and toss to combine. Sprinkle with the chopped fresh herbs and season with additional salt, pepper and red pepper flakes until the flavors really sing. Serve with Parmesan on the side.

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