Grilled Vegetables with Rigatoni

Grilled vegetables and pasta are a great pairing. And if you’re a fan of veggies, it’s a great way to turn them into a meal — and one that is meatless. Not only do you get your boost of carbohydrates from the pasta, you also have the benefit of nutrient-rich produce — be it home-grown or from a farmers market or supermarket.

Our garden is loaded with vegetables this summer. We have an abundance of summer squash (yellow crooked neck and zucchini), tomatoes and eggplant as well as adequate onions and peppers.

The following recipe, one which I revamped from another that came to my attention this week, makes use of all of those vegetables, plus some fresh basil. And it definitely was a meal in itself.

Along with some fresh bread from our local bakery, it was a meal that the owners of any Italian restaurant would not hesitate to serve.

Grilled Vegetables with Rigatoni
¾ pound rigatoni pasta
8 roma tomatoes
1/3 cup olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cubed
1 medium yellow onion, sliced thinly
2 medium zucchini, sliced
2 medium yellow summer squash, sliced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 medium sweet banana pepper, seeded and sliced
½ teaspoon seasoning salt
½ cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup fresh sliced basil, chopped
Preheat the grill to medium-high. While the grill heats up, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta, reserving water.
Place vegetables and basil in bowl and drizzle with half of olive oil, seasoning salt and black pepper. Put vegetables in double piece of tin foil that has been sprayed with oil and place on grill.
Meanwhile, place tomatoes on a double piece of foil. Drizzle with remaining  olive oil and sprinkle, kosher salt and pepper. Enclose the tomatoes in the foil and place on the grill after other vegetables have been cooking for 30 to 40 minutes.
After about 20 minutes, check the tomatoes; they should have burst open in the foil packet and be nice and juicy.
Remove the vegetables from grill and place in a large serving bowl, toss the hot pasta with the grilled vegetables. Add the tomatoes with all the juices and toss to coat. If the mixture is too dry, drizzle with some of the reserved pasta water or use a bit more olive oil. Add the mozzarella and toss again. Serve in bowls.
Yield: Serves 6.