Penne Zingaro Recipe (Vegetarian)

When I was 17 I started working as a waitress at an Italian Restaurant in Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia. I worked with an amazing chef, Rob, who was always so kind to me and made the most delicious food. We were allowed staff meals and he would make anything on the menu I wanted and sometimes if I had a craving for something off the menu he would make that too (like the time I was craving macaroni and cheese). He was like a fatherly figure, gave me advice and was always great to work with. Unfortunately, he took his own life and that day broke my heart. One of menu items he used to make regularly for me was Penne Zingaro which is a roasted vegetable pasta with a Pomodoro type sauce and goats cheese. It is my favourite pasta dish along side Penne Amatriciana which Rob always made the best. I have tried to replicate the dishes but mine just never taste as amazing as his but still pretty good.

The recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 zucchinis, slice thinly lengthways
  • 1-2 eggplants, , slice thinly lengthways
  • 2 capsicums, , slice thinly lengthways
  • 250 g of mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 200g of cherry tomatoes, chopped in half/quarters
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (organic)
  • 1 packet of goats cheese
  • ½ cup basil, chopped
  • Parmesan to garnish
  • Penne Pasta (I always use gluten free pasta)

Equipment

  • Oven tray/s
  • Fry pan
  • Wooden spoon/s
  • Saucepan/pots

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celcius
  • Line an oven tray with baking paper and put spread out some oil, lay out the sliced zucchini, eggplants and capsicum. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Note: You may have to use multiple trays

  • Place the tray/s in the oven and roast zucchini, eggplant and capsicum until soft, put aside
  • Cook pasta according to instructions on packet, once cooked put aside
  • In a saucepan/pot add some oil/butter and garlic and saute for 30 seconds, don’t burn the garlic
  • Add the canned tomatoes and half the basil and let simmer on a low heat to release the basil, put aside
  • In a fry pan heat some oil/butter and garlic and then add the mushrooms. Saute these until soft, then add the other roast vegetables and combine
  • Add the tomato sauce mix and some salt and pepper
  • Combine the sauce and vegetables evenly
  • Add the tomato and let soften only slightly
  • Add some goats cheese and fold in
  • Serve with the pasta and add more goats cheese as a garnish
  • Add parmesan as a garnish too with some basil.

Note: I love goats cheese and the flavour it adds to this dish. It tends to turn the sauce from a Pomodoro to a Rosso sauce. Rob used to make this with olives in it but I always asked for it without. I am only slowly liking olives so if you are an olive fan add black olives chopped to this recipe. If you are short on time and don’t want to roast the vegetables you can pan fry them in some oil/butter with salt and pepper until soft.

Enjoy.

N.

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