National Pasta Month continues! This time around I have a zinger for you...roasted penne. Okay, the penne isn't roasted, but the vegetables that you toss it with are. I came up with this one by accident while using up some of the remnants in my sister's fridge, what my grandmother used to call an "icebox clean-up" recipe.
2 ripe tomatoes, cored
1 bell pepper
1 or 2 green chiles
1 onion, halved
(You'll also need a clove of garlic later on)
Rub all the vegetables with a little olive oil and put them on the grill to roast. When the pepper skins are blackened and puckered, remove them, put them in a paper bag or newspapers to steam for a few minutes. When they are cool enough to handle, peel the skins off. Roast the tomatoes until soft but not mushy. The onion will take the longest; when it is browned and softened it is ready.
If you are using the oven, slice the tomatoes in half, salt them and put them cut-side down in a roasting pan to start; ditto for the onions. Keep an eye on them; the tomatoes won't take very long.
Cool the vegetables, then chop them roughly and put them all together in a bowl. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and and some salt and freshly-ground pepper.
Meanwhile boil a pot of water and start cooking the penne.
In a skillet, saute a clove of garlic (minced) in olive oil just until soft but not browned. All the vegetables to the skillet and turn the heat to low. Heat gently.
Drain the penne, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Put the penne in a bowl and add the vegetables, along with a little of water if needed to moisten it and bind it all together.
Top with freshly grated parmigiano and sprinkled with a little minced basil, if desired.
Photo credit: Miheco