Last Friday, pizza. This Friday, pasta.
This pasta. Is so good.
I’ve been on a pasta hiatus for a little while. Not on purpose. It’s just not something I’ve been craving. Then this goat cheese pasta happened. And now this.
This pasta is fresh, it’s flavorful. It’s filled with veggies. It’s light. A big bowl of this won’t make you wish you hadn’t. It will make you happy!
Really, this pasta has been a highlight of my day the past few days. I’ve been looking forward to it. Once lunch has been over, I have started thinking about the big steamy bowl of this pasta I will eat for dinner. It makes me happy. 🙂
I don’t know what it is. Because this really is so super simple. Just (canned!) tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, kale, onions, some fresh garlic, basil and cheese. And great noodles. Great noodles are key.
I used little chiocciole noodles. I had never heard of them before. But I saw them. And thought they were cute. So I got them. And they are perfect. I cut the zucchini and eggplant the same size as the noodles so everything is just the same size and happy together. 🙂
If you don’t think you like eggplant, you should still try this.
It cooks up nicely in this dish. It’s not tough at all. It has the same texture as the zucchini in this pasta. It might be from the salting technique I describe in the recipe. Salting the eggplant and zucchini before cooking releases most excess water in the vegetables and helps them cook better.
Oh, and after I made this, I read that you should not cook tomato dishes in cast iron because it will break down the seasoning. Oops. You live and you learn, I guess. I re-seasoned mine.
One big bowl of happiness coming your way!
1 medium yellow onion
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium zucchini
1 medium eggplant
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 – 14 oz. cans of diced tomatoes
2 cups chopped kale
14 oz. of noodles, I used chiocciole noodles
Fresh basil, for topping
Freshly grated parmesan cheese, for topping
Start this pasta by prepping the eggplant and zucchini. Thickly slice the eggplant and zucchini. Lay them on a baking sheet and generously sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, you will see water droplets on top of the sliced veggies. Take a paper towel and absorb the water from the slices. Flip the slices and sprinkle the other side with salt. Let sit another 15 minutes and then absorb the water droplets from that side. You can read + see the method thoroughly here. This process will help the eggplant and zucchini cook better by helping them not release as much water.
While the zucchini and eggplant are sitting, put a pot of water on to boil for the noodles. Open your cans of tomato paste and diced tomatoes. Chop the kale and basil. Dice the onion. Shred some parmesan for topping. Cook the noodles once the water boils. Once the zucchini and eggplant process is done, chop them.
In a pan or pot, add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the onion begins to get soft and slightly brown. Add the chopped zucchini and eggplant. Cook another 5-7 minutes, or until the veggies are soft and slightly brown as well. Add the tomato paste and stir. Add the 2 cans of diced tomatoes. Stir well, so that the tomato paste is completely incorporated into the other veggies. Cook for several minutes, until the sauce begins to slightly simmer. Add the chopped kale and stir. Cook for another 5 minutes, making sure that the kale gets soft and the the sauce thickens.
If you cook the sauce in a big enough pan or pot, stir the noodles right into the sauce and then serve. If your pan isn’t big enough to hold the pasta too (mine wasn’t), scoop some noodles onto a serving dish and then top with sauce.
Top the pasta with parmesan cheese and fresh chopped basil to serve.