Pasta Toss with Summer Basil

3 medium red peppers
2 medium yellow peppers
1 package (16 ounces) penne, radiatore, or fusilli pasta
salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
3 medium zucchini (6 ounces each), each cut lengthwise in half then thinly sliced crosswise
1 medium eggplant (1 1/4 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch chunks
3 ripe medium tomatoes (1 pound), chopped
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chopped (1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons capers, drained

1. Preheat broiler. Line broiling pan (without rack) with foil. Cut each pepper lengthwise in half; discard stems and seeds. With hand, flatten each pepper half. Place peppers (half the amount at a time, if broiling pan is small), cut-side down, in broiling pan. Place pan in broiler 5 to 6 inches from source of heat and broil peppers until charred and blistered, 10 to 15 minutes. Wrap foil around peppers and allow to steam at room temperature 15 minutes or until cool enough to handle. (Repeat with remaining peppers.)

2. Meanwhile, prepare pasta in boiling salted water as label directs. Drain pasta; rinse with cold water, and drain again. Set aside.

3. Remove peppers from foil. Peel off skin and discard. Cut peppers into 1/2-inch pieces.

4. In nonstick 12-inch skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat until hot. Add onion and cook 6 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini and 1 tablespoon oil, and cook 7 minutes or until zucchini are tender-crisp, stirring frequently. Add eggplant, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil, and cook 8 minutes or until eggplant is tender, stirring frequently.

5. Transfer vegetables to large bowl; stir in tomatoes, basil, capers, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add pasta; toss well. Serve salad warm, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Yields: 12 accompaniment servings



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