Thursday, July 3, 2008

Pasta salad with peppers, zucchini, and eggplant

Peppers (red and yellow), zucchini, and eggplant are a common trio in Mediterranean cuisine, as in ratatouille. Here's one of my favorite pasta salads, which features the combination. Do not use green peppers or frozen veggies.

1 lb fusilli (durum wheat only)

2 small zucchini

1/2 large eggplant

1 red pepper

1 yellow pepper

1 level Tbsp. each of fresh flat-leaf parsley and fresh basil

1/2 flavorful tomato or 4 cherry tomatoes

extra-virgin olive oil

The zucchini must be small and the peppers should not be globular but like the ones in the picture. The tomatoes must be tasty. Now. Dice the peppers, zucchini and eggplant. Cook separately, which I do in the ole microwave for convenience. Do not overcook, but the peppers should not be al dente. Italians, unlike the Chinese, do not approve of al dente peppers.

In the meantime, you will have cooked the fusilli in plenty of salted, boiling water until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water (only do this for cold pasta). Season with salt and pepper. Coat generously with olive oil. Add cooked peppers, zucchini and eggplant; mix. Dice raw tomatoes and get rid of seeds if you are fussy or think your guests will criticize you. Add tomatoes. Finely mince parsley and basil, add. Mix and adjust seasoning, possibly adding more oil. Why not?

Like most pasta salads, this should be made ahead to allow flavors to blend. I would set it aside for three-four hours, at least. Or make the day before.

Have a good Fourth!