Selen’s Summer Pasta

I just created this recipe today – with things I had in the refrigerator and from my balcony garden.  It’s easy to make and can be served hot or at room temperature – like a summer pasta salad.  As always, you can change the ingredients to suit your tastes!

INGREDIENTS:

3-4 Fresh tomatoes
16-18 fresh basil leaves
2-3 cloves of garlic
1-2 TBLS (soup spoon) red crushed pepper
olive oil
feta cheese
2 small zucchinis
2-3 small eggplants (Turkish) or 1 large one (American)
salt
pepper
1 box of pasta – tagliatelle, fettucini, orecchiette, or small shells.  If you can get fresh pasta – more power to you!

DIRECTIONS:

Boil a large pot of salted water.  Add pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, roast the eggplant.  If you have a gas stove, place the eggplant directly on the flame.  Turn it as it blackens.  The eggplant is finished when all sides are completely blackened.  Large eggplants take longer.  Carefully touch it to make sure it is soft.  You can use a thin sharp knife to test it.  If there is no resistance, it is done.  However, if it’s not done, your stove will get even messier at the eggplant leaks juices onto the stove.  Let the eggplant cool.  Pull of the blackened skin.  Cut into small pieces and place in a large bowl.

While the eggplant is cooking, thinly slice the zucchini to approximately 1 cm.  No need to remove the skins.  Drizzle them in olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder if you have it.  If you have garlic salt, do not add other salt.  If you don’t have either, don’t worry about it.  Place them on your electric grill (George Foreman grill).  If you don’t have one, put them on a broiling pan and broil until brown.  Flip to do the other side.  You can also try your outdoor grills.

As the eggplant and zucchini are cooking, dice the tomatoes into small pieces.  Add to the bowl.  Mince/chop the garlic and add to the bowl. Cut the basil into thin slices and add to the mix.  Crumble the feta cheese – amounts are to your liking.  Drizzle olive oil, and add the crushed red pepper and salt and pepper to taste.

When the pasta is finished (al dente), drain and rinse it and add it to the bowl.  Toss.  Decorate with the grilled zucchini.  Serve with garlic bread or a nicely toasted herb bread.

Notes:  

  • If you are in Turkey, I don’t suggest Turkish brands of pasta.  They are more bland and soak up the water.  Spend the 1.5 TL to buy Barilla pasta.
  • My measurements, as in most of my recipes, are not precise.  Add more or less of what you like.
  • An easy way to mince garlic is to place a large chef’s knife flat against the garlic.  Use your fist to pound and smash it once.  The skin will come right off.  It is easily chopped from there.
  • You may want to try adding green olives.  But please, oh please, use the ones with the pits!
  • To clean your stove top, use a wet paper towel to wipe off the char.  If you use your best dish cloth, you may be sorry. 
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