Rich, satisfying, luscious are only a few of the words to describe this hearty pasta dish. Roasted vegetables are sweet, their natural flavors intensified in the confined heat of the oven. Beautifully diced and spooned over penne pasta and you have heaven on a plate.
Makes 3-4 servings
1-2 cloves fresh garlic, thinly sliced
1 red onion, 1/4-inch diced pieces
1 carrot, 1/4-inch diced pieces
1 cup 1/4-inch diced pieces butternut squash
1 cup 1/4-inch diced pieces sweet potato
grated zest of 1 lemon
extra virgin olive oil
10-12 oil-cured black olives, pitted, minced
8 ounces penne pasta
juice of 1/2 lemon
2-3 sprigs fresh basil, finely minced
Preheat oven to 375o. Place garlic, onion, carrot, squash and sweet potato in a mixing bowl. Stir in lemon zest, a generous drizzle of olive oil, a light sprinkle of salt and a light drizzle of mirin. Mix well to coat the vegetables. Transfer to a shallow baking dish, avoiding a lot of overlap. Bake, covered, for 45 minutes, then remove cover, add olives and bake until vegetables are lightly browned, about 15 minutes more.
When the vegetables are nearly ready, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook penne al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain well, but do not rinse. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
Remove vegetables from the oven and gently stir in lemon juice. Spoon vegetables into the pasta and mix well. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve garnished with basil and a drizzle of fruity olive oil.
Cook’s Tip: If you don’t want to use mirin in this recipe, you can substitute with brown rice syrup to achieve the sweet taste you are looking to create.