Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Gratin of Rigatoni with Roasted Vegetables

6oz/175g rigatoni
1heaped tsp grated parmesan, for the topping

For the roasted veg:
2 medium courgettes
1 small aubergine
1lb/450g tomatoes, skinned
1 medium onion, peeled
1 small red pepper, deseeded
1 small yellow pepper, deseeded
3tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
2oz/50g pitted black olives, chopped
1 heaped tsp capers
2oz/50g mozzarella, grated
Salt and pepper

For the cheese sauce:
1pint/570ml milk
1&1/2oz/40g plain flour
1&1/2oz/40g butter
pinch cayenne pepper
2oz/50g parmesan, finely grated
a little freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper

Start preparing the courgettes and aubergine an hour ahead of time. Chop them into 1&1/2 inch/4cm chunks, leaving the skins on, and layer them in a colander with a sprinkling of salt between each layer. The put a plate on top of it and weigh it down with something heavy to draw out moisture. After and hour, squeeze, and dry them in a tea cloth.
Preheat the oven to 475f/240c
Now quarter the tomatoes and chop the onions and peppers into 1&1/2 inch chunks. Next arrange all the veg on a baking tray. Sprinkle with olive oil and chopped garlic. Give everything a good mix to coat and spread out as much as possible. Season with salt and pepper and roast on a high shelf 30-40 minutes, till browned and charred at the edges.

Make the cheese sauce- place the milk flour butter and cayenne into a medium saucepan and place it over a gentle heat. Using a balloon whisk, begin to whisk while bringing it to a gentle simmer. Whisk continually till you have a smooth glossy sauce, and simmer very gently for 5 minutes. Add the parmesan and whisk again allowing it to melt. Season with salt and pepper and some freshly ground nutmeg.

Meanwhile, when the veg are about 5 min from being ready, cook the pasta for exactly 6 minutes-no longer. Drain the pasta, and in a large bowl combine with roasted veg, olives capers and cheese sauce. Turn the oven down to 400f/200c. Layer the mixture into a gratin dish, a third at a time, sprinkling the mozzarella over each layer, and finishing with mozzarella. Sprinkle with parmesan and bake another 6 minutes (if you make it ahead of time it will need 35-40 minutes)

So as some of you know my mom is out here visiting right now, and she picked this one out. I'm really glad she did too, because I had noticed it before in my Delia Smith Vegetarian cookbook, but I was still kind of on the fence about it.

It was a great choice. It came out so well. There is not too much pasta, so it still feels more like a vegetable dish with pasta, as opposed to a pasta dish with vegetables. Also, the sauce, although it's a cheese sauce tastes really light. Maybe it's because it doesn't have tons of cheese, or maybe it's the nutmeg, but it was surprising. The vegetables were gorgeous. Even the ones that look slightly burned (it's a really hot oven), were actually flavorful and lovely.

This was really great! Thanks mom!

No comments: