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Ugly Vegetable Pasta

Serves: Makes 4 servings

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  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for finishing
  • 1 small eggplant, cut into 2" pieces
  • 1 zucchini, cut into 2" pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • ½-1 fresh chili, thinly sliced (depending on how spicy you like it!)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ pound (8 ounces) short-cut pasta
  • 1 handful tender herbs, such as basil, mint and/or parsley, tender stems minced, leaves torn or left whole
  • ½ cup coarsely grated ricotta salata (or pecorino, feta, or Parmesan)
  • Zest of 1 lemon


Brown the vegetables: Heat half the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add eggplant and zucchini and cook until soft and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Season well with salt.

Make the spicy garlic oil: Add garlic and chili and remaining oil and cook until fragrant, another couple minutes.

Cook tomatoes: Add tomatoes and cook until they start to release their liquid when pressed with the back of a spoon, about 5 more minutes.

Cook the pasta: Meanwhile, cook pasta in boiling salted water 2 minutes less than package instructions, about 7 minutes. You still want it to have a bite.

Finish pasta: Drain pasta, saving about ½ cup cooking water. Add pasta to skillet, adding pasta water a few tablespoons at a time and tossing to coat. Garnish with herbs, cheese, lemon zest and drizzle of olive oil.

What’s left: Eggplant stems, zested lemon, chili stem and seeds.

This pasta is a 2:1 ratio of veggies to pasta. Chunky pastas work best with chunky sauces. Look for ridged (rigate) varieties that sauce will cling to. Longer noodles are best with smoother sauces.

  • Examples of short cut pasta shapes:
  • Penne rigate
  • Torchiette - Joel and Andy’s pick
  • Orecchiette
  • Mezzi rigatoni
  • Garganelli

Recipe courtesy of Scraps

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