I created this easy one-pot recipe many years ago and submitted it to Cooking Light for a reader recipe. It was published in the July 2007 magazine. I make this recipe often when I am in a hurry for a meat free Italian dinner. You can use whatever vegetables you have on hand such as carrots, broccoli, brocolini, fresh cherry tomatoes, spinach. You can also add cooked Italian sausage for a more hearty dinner. Let this dish sit at room temperature fo about 20 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld. Serve extra grated cheese on the side at the table. —Lorraine Fina Stevenski
pound any type of short pasta (Rigatoni or Ziti)
extra virgin olive oil + more if needed
large eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
medium zucchini, unpeeled, halved and sliced into 1/2" cubes
medium sweet oniion, peeled, thinly sliced
green onions, cut into 1/2" pieces
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
dried Italian seasoning
shredded Mozzarella cheese
grated Parmesan cheese, or Grana Pandano cheese (plus more for the table)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook the pasta to al dente, drain and set aside.
Line a large plate with paper towels . In a 12"-13" oven safe, high sided skillet, heat HALF the oil on medium high heat. Add the eggplant pieces. Stir and cook until golden brown. Drain on the paper towels and set aside.
Heat the remaining olive oil in the same skillet. Add the garlic and cook over medium heat about 30 seconds. Do not brown. Add the zucchini, onion, green onion and cook over high heat until lightly browned; about 5 minutes.
Add the canned tomatoes, basil leaves, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, slightly covered over medium heat until the sauce is reduced slightly; about 15 minutes.
Fold the cooked eggplant (and cooked sausage if you like), into the sauce. Stir in the cooked pasta and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle the top with grated cheese. Garnish with whole basil leaves.
Bake covered for 15-20 minutes or just until heated through. Serve extra grated cheese at the table.