Monday, July 23, 2007

Whole Wheat Linguine with Roasted Vegetables and Pesto Sauce

In the last posted, I hinted that I had a great new pasta recipe. I might have even called it, “the greatest.” It’s pretty simple—pasta tossed with basil pesto and a rainbow of roasted vegetables. But there’s just something about the way all the elements enhance and complement each other when you put them together. The slow-roasted tomatoes are sweet, the eggplant is incredibly silky, the onions are perfectly caramelized, the zucchini and mushrooms are full of flavor and the garlicky pesto is bright and fresh.

I started preparing this dish early in the day so I could roast the tomatoes at a low oven temperature, but I think you would get comparable results if you turned up the heat and decreased the time. I also spent a good deal of time hanging around the kitchen roasting the batches of vegetables. I don’t mind the waiting—there’s little actual work to do, and roasting is my favorite way to prepare these veggies. I did all this on a Sunday when I didn’t mind a little fussing around.

Make this recipe for you and one lucky person, so you’ll have enough to eat again in the next day or two. I think it may be even better when the veggies and noodles have had a chance to stew in the slick, fragrant pesto sauce, the garlic has mellowed and the flavors have meshed together lusciously.

Here are some other fantastic pasta recipes I've found on other food blogs:

1) Pasta with (VERY) slow roasted tomatoes on A Veggie Venture
2) Lisa's Shrimp and Penne on La Mia Cucina
3) One that I saved way back she posted it: Rigatoni with 5 Lilies and Ricotta Salata on Orangette
4) Egg noodles with zucchini and balsamic vinegar on The Wednesday Chef
5) Fresh pasta with zucchini and sundried tomatoes on What's For Lunch Honey?
6) Bee's grandfather's pasta with thyme-flavored tomato ricotta sauce on La Tartine Gourmande

Whole Wheat Linguine with Roasted Vegetables and Pesto Sauce
Serves 4

1 cup fresh basil leaves
2 generous tbs. toasted pine nuts
2 generous tbs. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2-3 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 medium cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste
pasta cooking water, to thin to desired consistency

Combine the basil, pine nuts, cheese, olive oil and garlic in a blender and puree. Season with salt and pepper. Add small amounts of the pasta cooking water and continue to blend until you have a thick, but pourable consistency.

10-12 roma tomatoes, halved and cored
olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper
1 large eggplant, cut into 1-inch chunks
8 oz. Portobello mushroom caps, cut into chunks
4 small zucchini, cut into chunks
1 large red onion, layers separated and cut into 1-inch chunks
¾ lb. whole wheat linguine (I like Whole Foods’ 365 brand)

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Place the tomato halves cut side up on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Drizzle some olive oil over the top and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 3 hours or until tomatoes are very soft and at least half their original volume. If you have less time, increase the temperature. If you have more, let them cook until they are as sweet and chewy as you want. It will be good either way, but I have the feeling that slow roasting provides the sweetest result. Remove from the oven, set aside until cool and cut in half lengthwise.

Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees. Toss the other vegetables with a little oil, season with salt and pepper and spread them out on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Roast until browned and tender, tossing once during cooking. Keep in mind that the vegetables will finish cooking at different times, and remove them from the oven accordingly.

Meanwhile, make the pesto and cook the pasta. Reserve about ½ cup of the pasta water, just before draining. Add a little at a time to the pesto until it has a thick, but pourable consistency.

Drain the pasta and return it to the pasta pot. Add the roasted vegetables and toss gently. Add the pesto and toss to coat. At this point, you may want to add a bit of pasta water to moisten the vegetable and loosen the sauce a bit more, but it’s your call. Take it slow and stop when things look good to you.

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Lydia said...

I make slow-roasted tomatoes (like Alanna's) every summer, and keep them in the freezer to use all winter on pizzas, pasta and bruschetta. It's easy and fun to do.

Alanna said...

Ah yes, sloooooooow-roasted tomatoes, they keep you in 'summer' all winter long. They're so good, this year I ran out in February. Lovely post!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Yes, this is one where each thing is individually wonderful and you add them altogether and every thing gets exponentially even better. And I do think it's the roasting.

Anonymous said...

This looks like such a healthy, satisfying dish. I can almost taste the nuttiness of the pesto against the wholesome veggies and whole wheat!

Ari (Baking and Books)

Kristen said...

All of those veggies combined sound like a feast for the taste buds. What a great recipe!

Julie said...

Lydia: That's a great idea...I should get organized and do that. I wish I had a tomato garden to use as my source.
Alanna: Yep, slow is the way to go.
Tanna: from someone who doesn't have a grill (I live in a 5th flr. condo), roasting is one of the best ways to get great flavor from veggies.
Ari: It is incredibly satisfying, yet it!
Kristen: thanks for commenting!

lorna vanderhaeghe said...

Roasted vegetables make a healthy addition to the meal.

Louis said...

I really think that's healthy. Adding roasted vegetables in your pasta is definitely a great idea. With pesto, it's even more delicious.

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John said...

I would love to eat this food, but it's not good for my health. I'll be glad if you shared other recipes which are gluten-free.

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restaurants in norwich said...

The nuts gave the dish a more earth flavor into it and I love it.

catering long island said...

I love what you did with the pesto sauce. Thanks.

restaurant insurance said...

This will help me maintain my weight, thanks.

Brad G said...

I served this last night and my guests loved it very much. Thanks.
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Anonymous said...

I just ate the most fabulous bread crumb stuffed tomatoes and have been inspired to make some. Now, it looks like I'll be making some with rice stuffing too. Mmmm. Good luck with the move!
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Emilio.M said...

Adding green leafy vegetables can really make your dishes more healthier and yummier.
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