Orecchiette with Roasted Vegetables

This pasta dish can be served warm or cold, depending on your mood. Orecchiette ("little ears") can be found in most supermarkets, but if that shape is not readily available, try medium shells, campanelle (they look like lilies and we used them when we took our pictures), or lumache ("snail shells").

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

3 medium-sized Italian eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound orecchiette pasta

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup cooked chickpeas

8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Handful fresh basil leaves, chopped

Handful fresh mint leaves, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Preheat oven to 400°. Mix diced tomatoes and eggplant with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Spread onto a baking sheet or rimmed cookie sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until eggplant is tender. Check halfway and mix around with large spoon if the vegetables are cooking unevenly.

Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Pour dry pasta into boiling water and stir. Cook pasta until al dente (about 10 minutes, depending on the shape: take a test bite a little before you think it's ready). Drain the pasta and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

Combine pasta with roasted vegetables, chickpeas, herbs and feta cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Yield: 4 servings