Baked Vegetarian Penne Pasta alla Siciliana with Smoked Mozzarella & Grilled Eggplant

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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This is rich & comforting & easy to make.  I made the sauce but you could use a jar of your favorite kind.  I used real cheese – you can use a vegan alternative – or even omit it.    If you go with no cheese – there is no reason to bake it & you can serve it right from the stove top.  The real key to this is grilling the eggplant – to get rid of that texture & add a smokiness that adds to the autumnal flavors of this dish.

Baked Vegetarian Penna Pasta alla Siciliana with Smoked Mozzarella & Grilled Eggplant

Serve 4 well

INGREDIENTS

1 lb dry pasta

Olive oil

1 eggplant – sliced into 1/2 inch rounds

28 oz chopped tomatoes

6-10 cherry tomatoes – quartered (optional)

1-6 garlic cloves (to taste) – chopped

8 oz smoked mozzarella – grated

1 cup regular (or more smoked) mozzarella – grated

1 tsp – 1 TBS crushed red pepper (to taste)

1 tsp oregano

1/4 cup fresh parsley – chopped

1/4 cup fresh basil – chopped

S&P

Garnish: more grated cheese (Parmesan or Asiago), chopped fresh basil or parsley

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven (if you are using cheese) to 350 degrees.

Cook & drain the pasta.

Either brush the eggplant with olive oil r spray with cooking spray & grill (or a grill or grill pan) – for a few minutes on each side until they are nicely grilled.  Cool & chop.

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Heat a TBS or so of olive oil in a stock pan.  When hot – add the garlic & cook one minute.  Add the chopped tomatoes, crushed red pepper, oregano, cherry tomatoes, eggplant, basil & parsley.  Cook on low for a while until it thickens & the flavors meld.  Maybe 20 minutes or so.  Add the cooked pasta & toss.  If not using cheese – serve & garnish once it is heated through.

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If using cheese – add the 8 oz grated smoked mozzarella & toss.  Put it into a greased casserole & top with the remaining cup of grated cheese.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted & bubbling.

Garnish with cheese or herbs & serve!

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Pasta with Roasted Beets & Goat Cheese

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

This is super easy & really pretty delicious.  Not a lot of ingredients and, once you’ve roasted the beets, it comes together in the time it takes you to boil pasta.  Mine there is sitting on a bed of spinach but I don’t recommend putting spinach in this.  It is just there for aesthetics.

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Pasta with Roasted Beets & Goat Cheese

INGREDIENTS

2 large beets (or several smaller ones) – I used red & golden varieties

3 garlic cloves

1/2 cup Parmesan – grated

5 oz goat cheese

Olive oil

S&P to taste

Mint or parsley or basil as garnish

DIRECTIONS

Toss the beets & garlic cloves in a little olive oil, wrap in foil & roast at 425 for 30-45 minutes – depending on their size – or until they are tender.  Let them cool & then peel them & cut them into chunks.  Reserve a handful of small cubes of beet for garnish later.

Boil your pasta.

In a food processor, puree the rest of the beets & Parmesan & roasted garlic & 1-2 ounces of the goat cheese & one cup of water until very smooth.  Add S&P to taste.

Put 1 TBS olive oil in a saute pan & heat the beet puree through.  Do not burn it!

Drain the pasta & add it & the beet puree to a bowl & mix until all your pasta is a deep magenta. Serve on plates with extra dollops of goat cheese, a few cubes of roasted beet, whatever herb you selected to garnish it with & some fresh cracked pepper!

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Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Homemade Pepper Penne

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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The penne here require THIS amazing Kitchenaid pasta press and the stand mixer.  If you do not have these things, dry pasta is fine or make a homemade pasta of a different shape.

I sliced the garlic for this recipe with this handy dandy garlic slicer.  They are inexpensive & great for paper thin garlic slices.

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Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Homemade Pepper Penne

INGREDIENTS

For the pasta

400 grams (or 1 3/4 cups) flour

4 eggs

1 TBS pepper

1 tsp salt

OR – 1 lb dry pasta of your choice

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For the Shrimp Diavolo

3 TBS olive oil

20 shrimp – peeled & cleaned

8 cloves garlic – sliced thin

1 TBS (or less – to taste) crushed red pepper

1 29 oz can of either crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce

2 tomatoes – diced

1/2 cup dry vermouth (or dry white wine) – optional

1 TBS oregano

20 basil leaves – some chopped – some for garnish

Parsley – chopped

S&P to taste

Additional olive oil to drizzle as garnish – (optional)

Additional crushed red pepper – as garnish (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

For the pasta

Homemade pasta directions HERE

Or use dry pasta & the package directions.

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For the shrimp diavolo

Salt & pepper the shrimp & let sit for 15 minutes or so.

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Heat 1 TBS olive oil in a large frying pan & saute the shrimp until just pink – until almost done.  Try not to overcook.  Put them on a plate & set aside.

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Add 2 more TBS olive oil to the pan & add the garlic & crushed red pepper.  Saute about a minute then add the canned tomatoes – being careful not to get burned when it splatters (and it will).   Add the diced tomatoes, oregano, vermouth, 1 tsp salt & a handful each of the chopped basil & parsley (reserving some of both for garnish).  Simmer on medium heat about 15 minutes or until it thickens to your taste.

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Just before serving, add the cooked shrimp just long enough to heat through.  You might want to save a few to top each serving as garnish.

Mix your pasta with the sauce & then garnish with additional shrimp, parsley & basil.  Drizzle each serving with olive oil (if desired) and additional crushed red pepper to taste.

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