New way to eat your veggies: stir them into pasta sauces

July 29, 1992|By Rita Calvert | Rita Calvert,Contributing Writer

The popularity of pasta in the United States continues to grow by leaps and bounds. With many folks now eating it several times a week, and some, every night of the week, new pasta recipes are always in great demand.

Red sauces with vegetables make an especially quick and wholesome companion for pasta, because there are some very high quality jarred red sauces on the market and, of course, vegetables are always readily available from the supermarket salad bar, the produce department or the frozen food department.

This particular dish was always a sell-out special in my California restaurant -- it is robust but still healthful. A tossed green salad is all that is needed to round out the meal and possibly, a crunchy loaf of bread. Your favorite fresh fruit for dessert makes the meal truly European.

Items you should have in your pantry are: olive oil, 1 onion, 1 green bell pepper, 12 ounces linguine or spaghetti, fresh garlic, salad dressing and fresh fruit.

Your 10-item-or-less shopping list:

*1 eggplant

*1 16-ounce can chick peas

*1 16-ounce jar quality red pasta sauce with mushrooms

*salad greens

*1 loaf crusty Italian bread or French baguette

Pasta puttanesca with eggplant

Serves four.

12 ounces linguine or spaghetti

2 cups quality red pasta sauce with mushrooms

1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced

1 eggplant, sliced into 3/8 -inch rounds, then into 1/2 -inch strips

1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced into 3/8 -inch strips

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves fresh garlic, minced or pressed

1 16-ounce can chick peas, drained

Heat water for pasta while you prepare the vegetables. Cook pasta according to package directions. Ready the salad greens.

In a large non-stick skillet, heat olive oil until hot. Add eggplant and saute for 3 minutes. Add onion and green pepper and saute 5 more minutes. Add garlic, chick peas and red sauce, lower heat slightly and heat thoroughly. Drain pasta, place in a large bowl, pour sauce over and toss. Place most of the veggies on top of the pasta. Serve immediately. (This dish is also great served cold as a salad).

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