Mediterranean Pasta

Serves 4

1 lb whole grain pasta such as fusilli or orzo

1 1/2 c or 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed

2-3 roasted red peppers, diced

1/2 c sun dried tomatoes, diced small

1 c artichoke hearts, diced

1 T minced or roasted garlic

Optional: roasted eggplant, fresh pepper, olives, toasted pine nuts, broccoli florets, fresh spinach, crushed red pepper

 

While the pasta is cooking, dice everything else into a large bowl.  Drain the cooked pasta, rinse well under cold water to stop it from cooking, and add to the bowl.  Stir well and serve.  Mediterranean Pasta can be served hot, room temperature, or chilled.

This dish is extremely versatile and delicious fast food- try tossing broccoli in the last 2 minutes of cooking the pasta or stirring in fresh spinach before serving.  It’s also great with brown rice or couscous.

If using eggplant, place the eggplant on a baking sheet and roast at 400’F for about 45 min.  The eggplant will ‘deflate’ as it cools.  If you only have 30 min, then just roast it for 30 min- it’s not a big deal.  As this is the longest step, you can roast the eggplant in advance and refrigerate it until ready to use.  If you’re short on time, omit the eggplant and this recipe comes together in <20 min.  Peel the skin away and scoop the flesh from the roasted eggplant and add it to the bowl.  If the sight of the eggplant seeds bothers you, then whiz the eggplant pulp in the blender or food processor until smooth.  The white beans can be pureed with the eggplant or just added to the bowl.

Feel free to google how to roast your own red peppers (this should also be done in advance to make this a quick meal) but I usually buy them in a big jar.  I also buy the sun dried tomatoes in oil and then drain the oil before chopping them; the residual oil on the tomatoes is enough to ‘dress’ the pasta salad.

This dish is an easy one to make for a large group and is very portable – just allow time to cut or chop the ingredients.  I’ve gotten my family used to having more add-ins than pasta, but the measurements above are a decent starting point.  As usual, adjust to your preferences!