Meatless Monday Recipe: Pasta with Grilled Eggplant & Zucchini

Today’s post is a bit of a diversion for me.  I’m not writing about websites, sales or small business.  Instead, I am sharing a recipe for a simple, quick and tasty dinner I whipped together Saturday.

Meatless Monday:

A few of my colleagues at Edit.com have taken up the tradition of Meatless Monday (okay, one of them is meatless the rest of the week as well, but he counts.)  For those of you not familiar with Meatless Monday (or MM for short,) it is a fun name for going vegetarian for one day a week.  Since no weekdays start with V and only one starts with M, it was clear the day was to be Meatless Monday.

But why Saturday?

Because, I have other plans for tonight’s dinner.

Making due with what you have:

I hadn’t planned on a Meatless Saturday.  I looked in the cupboards and the refrigerator and it just came to me.  Why?  Well, I had no meat, but I did have a nice, healthy eggplant and a couple of zucchini.   I also had a box of whole wheat fettuccine, some garlic, butter, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese.   So here’s what I did:

Mis en place:

Finely chop one to three cloves of garlic

Grate one cup of fresh Parmesan cheese

Combine 1/2 tsp of dried basil, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1/4 tsp dried parsley

Grill the veggies:

Slice the zucchini and eggplant into 1/2 to 3/4 inch rounds

Toss in a large bowl with olive oil & pinch of kosher salt

Preheat the grill (Note to fellow Apartment-Dwellers:  like you, I don’t have access to a “real” grill.  I use a cast iron grill-pan in the oven.  Place the grill-pan on the lowest rack and preheat with the oven).

Grill the veggies, approximately 8 minutes per-side flipping once.  (Note to those WITH real grills: I don’t know if this time is accurate for you guys.  Sorry.)

Let the vegetables cool to the point where they can easily be handled.

Cut into 1/2 to 3/4 inch cubes

Cook the Pasta:

I recently read an article in the New York Times on whole grain pasta (click here for the article).  After reading this article, I looked for the brands recommended.  The Gia Russa Whole Wheat Fettuccine looked like a healthy option with a good ratio of dietary fiber to carbohydrates.

I followed the directions on the box – could not be more simple.

When pasta is just about done, reserve one to two cups of pasta water

The Sauce:

While the pasta cooks, set a large non-stick pan on the stove over low-medium

Spray with non-stick cooking spray, or coat VERY lightly with olive oil

Add the cubed grilled vegetables and garlic let the mixture warm

When warm, add dried herb mixture

When you are just about to drain the pasta, add a splash of the pasta-water

Combine:

After draining the pasta, add it to the vegetable mixture in the pan

Raise the heat to medium-high

Add the grated Parmesan cheese

Add enough of the reserved pasta-water to keep things moist, but not juicy

Stir to combine

Serve:

Distribute into bowls equally and serve.  And that is it!  One eggplant and two very small zucchini yielded a nice meal for two of us with LOTS of eggplant left over.   The Gia Russa fettuccine was a great pasta for this dish – slightly nutty flavor without that “gritty” texture that all too often accompanies whole grain pasta.

Now what?

So, was Meatless Saturday a hit in my house?  Sure.  We’ll probably do it again.  But I’ve got all this left over grilled eggplant. I was silly enough to cube it prematurely.  So what should I do with it?  I’m open to suggestions.

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