Heart-healthy Recipe: Farmers Market Mediterranean Pasta

farmers_market_mediterranean_pasta-recipe

After a trip to the farmers market (or a walk through your own garden), you may come back to the kitchen with a bounty of beautiful, bright, and ready to use vegetables. Make these vegetables the focal point of this pasta dish. I've provided a template here, but experiment with other vegetables you may bring home - it's a recommendation I give to the moms competing in this year's Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute's My Heart Challenge: Moms Edition. You can also substitute different grains, cheeses, and nuts to make your own unique dish. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. orzo pasta (or other small pasta)
  • 2 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 yellow squash, chopped
  • 1 eggplant, chopped (skin may be loft on or peeled according to your preference)
  • 1 large yellow onion (or 2 smaller), chopped
  • 2 large handfuls cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 T pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped Parmesan cheese
  • 2 T + 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta - cook to al-dente and reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.
  2. While the water comes to a boil, heat a large skillet over medium heat, add 2 T of the olive oil, then add the chopped onion. Saute until the onion is translucent (5-7 minutes). Add the halved tomatoes and garlic, stir to combine and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for about 15 minutes.
  3. In a small dry skillet or on a baking sheet, toast the pine nuts until fragrant. They roast quickly, so take care not to burn them. When lightly golden, set aside.
  4. Combine the zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant with the tomato and onion mixture. Cook until the eggplant is tender (about 5 minutes). 
  5. In a large bowl, combine the cooked pasta, 1/2 cup reserved cooking liquid (pasta water), and veggie mixture. Top with the extra 1 T olive oil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, salt and pepper.
  6. Can be served hot or cold.