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Grilled Gazpacho Pasta

September 11, 2008

The only cooking I’ve done this week was Lil’ Buddy’s Favorite Pasta, so I thought I’d give you a different pasta dish that I really like to make when I have more time.  This is an unusual recipe I’ve made a few times and it comes from Gourmet magazine.  It’s a good dish for entertaining and the leftovers keep well. You can serve this on its own as a vegetarian dish, or grill Italian sausages and serve them alongside the pasta.  Serves 4-6.

Ingredients

5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes
3 bell peppers (red, yellow, orange or combination)
2 medium red onions (I omit these for Greg)
2 pound zucchini (4 medium), trimmed and halved lengthwise
4 garlic cloves, peeled
3 tablespoons Sherry vinegar (I’ve never gotten around to buying this, so I use balsamic instead)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 pound ziti
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
Parmesan sprinkled on top or 1 cup crumbled or thinly shaved ricotta salata or French feta

Wooden skewers soaked in water for 30 min, or metal skewers.

Directions
Stir 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper into 3 tablespoons oil. Toss tomatoes with 1 tablespoon seasoned oil, then thread onto skewers.

Trim off bottoms and tops of bell peppers, then halve peppers lengthwise.

Quarter onions lengthwise, leaving root ends intact. Brush onions, peppers, and zucchini generously with some seasoned oil.

Put garlic on a double layer of foil and drizzle with some seasoned oil, then wrap tightly in foil, twisting to seal.

Heat grill until it’s medium-high. Grill vegetables, garlic (and sausages, if using) turning occasionally (frequently for garlic), until tomatoes are charred and slightly wilted, 3 to 5 minutes; bell peppers are blackened in spots, 8 to 10 minutes; onions and zucchini are tender, 8 to 12 minutes; garlic is softened and caramelized in spots, about 10 minutes; and sausages are cooked thourough, 12 to 15 minutes. Take off grill and keep warm

Peel peppers. Coarsely chop 2 bell pepper halves and 2 zucchini halves and transfer to a blender. Add garlic, 4 pieces of onion, vinegar, sugar, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, half of tomatoes, and remaining 2 T oil and purée until as smooth as possible.

Chop remaining peppers, onion, and zucchini and combine with whole tomatoes.

Cook ziti according to package directions. Drain, then add to grilled vegetables and toss with sauce pureed sauce. Stir in herbs and sprinkle with cheese. Serve with sausages alongside.

Note: If you aren’t able to grill outdoors, broil vegetables (cut each onion into 6 wedges) in oiled foil-lined large heavy baking pans 4 to 6 inches from heat, turning occasionally. Broil sausages on rack of a broiler pan. Times will be different from those above.
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