This is such a lovely easy dinner – very fresh and full of flavour. It’s also an excellent way to use up zucchini or tomatoes that are abundant but a bit watery – roasting concentrates the flavour, the balsamic vinegar sweetens them, and you wind up with a glorious, chunky, full-flavoured sauce that really takes only about five minutes of actual kitchen time.
What more could you want, really?
I do apologise for not actually giving quantities of things like oil, vinegar, herbs and seasonings – these are very much to taste, I think. And also, I go, splash, splosh, drizzle, and this isn’t really very measurable.
Your Shopping List8 roma tomatoes 8 zucchini, pattypan squashes, etc – any kind, and a mixture is excellent 1 bulb of garlic olive oil balsamic vinegar oregano salt, pepper 300 g pasta parmesan
Now what will you do with it?
Cut the tops of your tomatoes, stand them on the flat ends, and quarter them. Slice your zucchini in half lengthways, then chop into chunks. Pattypan squash can be cut horizontally in half if they are large, and then cut into quarters or sixths, depending on size. Slice the top off your garlic bulb, so that all the cloves are exposed. Don’t do anything else to it – the skin should stay on.
All of these go into a lovely, big roasting tin. Splash olive oil over them, drizzle them with balsamic vinegar, and sprinkle with salt, pepper and oregano to taste. Or with other herbs, if you prefer. Mix everything up a bit, then pop into the oven at 200°C and go write a blog post because you are a week behind (this is optional, especially the part about getting a week behind…).
Roast them for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the tomatoes have collapsed, the zucchini and garlic are soft, and there are a few nice little dark brown bits on the vegetables. Check them occasionally as they roast, and turn them or shake the tin to move them about.
When you think they are nearly done, put on the water for pasta, bring it to the boil, and cook the pasta until it’s al dente.
Remove the roast veggies from the oven and put on your stovetop or anywhere else that can cope with a hot roasting tin. Using a sacrificial oven mitt (it’s about to get garlic all over it, but a sacrificial hand is worse because you will burn it), squeeze the garlic out of its skin over the vegetables, and mash it into the nearby veggies a bit. (You use a fork for that part, obviously. We don’t want *that* much garlic on our oven mitts…)
Drain the pasta, and dump it into the roasting tin. Mix everything around. You can either stir in the grated parmesan at this point, or let people add parmesan to their individual serves, or stir in some parmesan now, and use some as garnish. I prefer the third option, because it leads to more parmesan.
Serve, while hoping that the weather will cool down. Note that your house now smells like pizza. Gorgeous.
This works with any summer vegetables you like, really. I’d happily add capsicums or onion to this. Eggplant would be fabulous, but might need to go into the oven before the other veggies in order to get soft.
This dish is obviously nut-free and egg-free (assuming you don’t use egg pasta), and can be gluten-free with gluten-free pasta. It’s also fairly low-GI, but I’m pretty sure the tomatoes make it fairly high in fructose. In terms of dairy, you probably don’t actually need the parmesan, but if you want something there instead, topping the whole thing with garlicky breadcrumbs would be just amazing – sauté some good fresh breadcrumbs in a little garlic-infused oil or oil with crushed garlic sautéed in it, and voilà! (I’m just playing with diacriticals now. Schön! Señor! Fenêtre!) Toasted pine nuts would also work. At this point, you have also achieved veganity, which is a bonus.
And no matter what, it’s going to taste great.
This time last year…
Recipe: Crêpes for Pancake Day