This pasta dish is loaded with roasted vegetables: penne with eggplant, bell pepper, tomato, onion, shallot, and a pesto pine nut crunch topping.
I’m a sucker for recipes with pine nuts in the ingredient list, especially when combined with a pile of basil. I just cannot help myself! (But at least I can restrain myself from eating an entire batch of fresh homemade ice cream in one sitting.)
As you can expect with such a proclamation, while searching for what to make for dinner this was an immediate win, without contest. Especially since I am trying to bring more vegetables into my meals.
Bonus points that some of the ingredients were grown right in my back yard – basil and cherry tomatoes. I wish we had eggplant and sweet bell peppers, but alas, maybe next year.
The medley between the pile of roasted veggies and penne in this dish are topped off with a basil-Parmesan-pine nut mixture and then a little Mozzarella. Yes that topping sounds a lot like basil pesto because it basically is except without the olive oil to make it runny.
If you are a fanatic (and have money to burn – but hopefully not literally burn), you could add more whole pine nuts on top to get all nice and toasted while the pasta bakes together. I didn’t have any to spare but maybe next time ;-). Regardless, in the end all the chopping and cooking time pays off in flavor.
Want more vegetable packed pasta dishes?
- Eggplant Manicotti with Creamy Pesto Filling
- Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes, Kale, and Gorgonzola Sauce
- Penne with Butternut Squash, Kale, and Goat Cheese
- Spaghetti with Roasted Butternut and Brussels & Greek Yogurt Cream Sauce
- Three Cheese and Swiss Chard Pasta Bake Cake
- Veggie Lasagna
- Veggie Skillet Lasagne
- White Skillet Lasagna with Butternut Squash and Kale
Post updated 8/18/22, photo above is the original.
- 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 large yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 large shallot, chopped
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 cups (firmly packed) fresh basil leaves, divided
- 1-1/4 cup freshly graded Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 3 large cloves garlic, divided
- 1 (15 oz.) can whole plum tomatoes in juice
- 1/4 cup fat free milk
- 2 Tbsp fat free plain Greek yogurt
- 16 oz. whole wheat penne
- Fresh mozzarella for grating over the top
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray two large rimmed baking sheets with nonstick spray. Divide eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, shallot, and yellow onion and spread in a single layer. Drizzle veggies with olive oil. Toss. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast veggies until tender, stirring often and rotating halfway through, 35-45 minutes.
- Combine 3/4 cup basil, 3/4 cup Parmesan, pine nuts, and 2 garlic cloves in food processor. Blend until crumbly. Season with salt. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
- Blend tomatoes with juice, milk, Greek yogurt, 1-1/4 cups basil, and remaining garlic clove in processor until smooth. Season sauce with salt and pepper.
- In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta until al dente, stirring occasionally. Drain. Return to pot. Toss with veggies, tomato sauce, and 1/2 cup Parmesan. Transfer to a 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with mozzarella and pine nut topping.
- Bake pasta until heated through, 25-35 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes and serve.