Pasta and Vegetables Au Gratin


3/4 pound Elicoidali or rigatoni
Butter for greasing dish
4 tablespoons Butter melted
1/2 pound Eggplant
1/2 pound Zucchini
2 Celery stalks
3/4 pound Ripe tomatoes
1/4 cup Olive oil
1/4 cup Minced onion
1 tablespoon Chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tablespoon Salt
Freshly-ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup Dry red wine
1 cup Freshly-grated Pecorino-Romano cheese
1 cup Cream
1 tablespoon Chopped mixed fresh herbs
(parsley, lovage or celery leaves, Salt to taste
Freshly-ground black pepper to taste
Freshly-grated nutmeg


Remove the stem end from the eggplant, and cut into 3/8-inch cubes. Slice the zucchini and celery thinly. Peel and mince the garlic. Blanch the tomatoes, peel them, cut in half, remove the seeds, and dice.
Heat the oil in a large pan and saute the onion and garlic until translucent. Add the eggplant, zucchini, and celery and fry over high heat for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring. Add the tomatoes and thyme, season with salt and pepper, and pour in the red wine. Cook uncovered over high heat until the vegetables are soft and the red wine has reduced by half.
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until almost al dente, drain, and mix with the vegetables. Transfer the mixture to a buttered baking dish.
To make the sauce, whisk the pecorino with the cream and egg yolks, add the chopped herbs, and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Pour the sauce over the pasta and vegetables. Bake in the oven preheated to 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, moistening the top occasionally with melted butter.
For a particularly crisp topping, mix equal quantities of fine white bread crumbs and freshly grated Parmesan cheese and sprinkle over the top of the dish halfway through the baking time.
This recipe yields 4 to 6 servings.
Comments: This is just one example of the many dishes that a creative cook can produce from a combination of pasta and vegetables. Other good examples are cauliflower or broccoli with tomatoes, or fennel and eggplant seasoned with anchovies and topped with blue cheese.




4.0 servings


Friday, December 11, 2009 - 12:32am



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