Excited for spring but still waiting for beautiful produce to show up at the farmers' market? Try this bridge between seasons - a creamy yet light pasta dish filled with roasted veggies and a balsamic sauce.
This is a pasta salad meets dinner dish - toss hot pasta with a slew of roasted veggies and coat with a tart, sweet, and just a little spicy balsamic dressing. You'd be just fine if you wanted to stop there, but what's a great pasta dish without something creamy? Instead of the traditional grated Parmesan, I opted for creamy greek yogurt that coats every piece of pasta and vegetable.
I chose to use cauliflower and eggplant because I love the way they roast, but you can use whatever vegetables you have on hand. Keep them bite-sized and make sure they really get browned in the oven - steamed veggies just don't have the same appeal!
Adding yogurt to pasta may seem strange, but think of it as a lighter and creamier version of cheese. This dish could also be made with pieces of ripe, soft brie or goat cheese.
Roasted Balsamic Vegetable Pasta with Mint & Yogurt
Serves 2 to 3 as a main dish
1 small head of cauliflower, cut into small florets 1 medium eggplant, sliced into 1/2-inch cubes 1 small onion, cut into wedges 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half 1/2 pound bowtie or other pasta 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/4 cup mint, chopped Roasted red pepper flakes to taste 3 tablespoons Greek yogurt, or more to taste
Preheat oven to 450° F. Line two or three baking sheets with parchment paper (you can also use foil, but be sure to spray foil with cooking spray before adding vegetables). Arrange cauliflower florets, eggplant cubes, onion slices, and tomato halves (cut side facing up) on baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, stir and shake up the vegetable pieces, and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are browned and softened.
While vegetables are roasting, cook the pasta in salted water. Mix the balsamic, olive oil, mint, and red pepper flakes (if desired) with a fork until blended.
Combine roasted vegetables with pasta and toss with balsamic dressing. While hot, add yogurt and toss to coat evenly.
Notes: • Make sure to leave enough space between the vegetables when roasting so they brown and caramelize rather than steaming • Cut vegetables in slightly larger than bize-sized pieces -- they will shrink when cooking. Keep the sizes fairly uniform to make sure everything cooks in the same amount of time. • Depending on the size of your oven, you might need to roast the vegetables in batches.