While the trees on my street are turning colours of orange and yellow, there’s just one maple tree down the road that is a vibrant, almost neon, red. I love it. The colours are a wonder during fall and even my son, cozy in his stroller, is staring at the trees to take it all in. With the last few vegetables of the season, those colours are in the kitchen too – deep purple, vibrant reds and pinks and bright yellows. Today, I’m using all those colours to make one of my staple dishes this time of year – pasta al forno with eggplant and beans.
Of course, when World Kitchen sent me this crazy-coloured 4-Pc Bakeware set from CW by CorningWare, I thought, what a great opportunity to add even more colour into the kitchen and give my readers a chance to win one of their own! I am so happy with the colour of these dishes, practically all the bakeware I have is white (go ahead and look back at my other recipes!) and I don’t see why everything needs to be white. Certainly our vegetables and trees aren’t that boring. If you want to make your kitchen colourful – scroll to the bottom of this recipe for all the details on how to win a 2.5 Quart Vermillion Baker from CW by CorningWare (Retail value $21.99).
You might be thinking: “but autumn vegetables are butternut squash and pumpkin.” That’s certainly what you’ll see on many food blogs this time of year, but for Italians autumn is also the bounty of the season, bushels of all our favourite vegetables abound. We’re still enjoying and preserving eggplants, tomatoes and romano beans, in fact these vegetables in the photos came out of my garden just this week. This dish is kind of a take on the Sicilian traditional dish of “pasta alla norma” which involves fried strips of eggplant and ricotta. In this version the eggplant and beans add a creamy texture to the pasta, making it rich and filling. Baking pasta also means a crispy and cheesy top layer – that’s the bits we fight over at this house, everyone wants the crispy pasta.
If you haven’t tried pasta “al forno” (baked), now’s the time. And scroll to the bottom to find out how to be entered for your own colourful CorningWare!
Autumn Vegetable Pasta al Forno
7 medium tomatoes, peeled and seeded OR 1 796 ml can of peeled tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Sicilian eggplant, peeled and cut into cubes
250g romano beans, shelled
100g mozzarella, shredded
30g Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Put on a pot of water on high heat. When boiling salt generously and add in the shelled beans. These need to cook for 20 minutes, so in the mean time, prep the remainder of your vegetables: cut the onions, peel and remove the seeds from the tomatoes and, finally, peel and cube the eggplant. You’ll want to do the eggplant last as it will brown fast if you don’t get them cooking right away. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
In a wide pan, heat the olive oil on medium-high. When heated through, add in the onions and cook until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Toss in the eggplant and sprinkle with salt (this will help the water come out of the eggplant and keep the pan moist). Cook, stirring frequently for an additional 2-3 minutes. Add in the tomatoes and tomato paste and lower the heat to medium low, allowing the sauce to simmer for 10 minutes. At this point, the beans will have completed cooking. Drain them and add in the cooked beans to the sauce, turning it to low and keeping it hot until the pasta is cooked.
Replacing the water in your pot, allow it to come back up to a boil and add in your pasta cooking for only 3/4 of the recommended cooking time. Drain and add the pasta to the sauce, removing the sauce pan from the heat. Toss until the pasta is fully coated. Stir in the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
Apply a light coating of olive oil to your baking dish, or use a spray olive oil. Spoon half the pasta into the bakeware and sprinkle on half the mozzarella. Spoon on the remaining pasta and top with the remaining mozzarella.
Bake in the oven, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is lightly browedn and blistered. Serve hot and be prepared to fight over the crispy bits!
Want to make your own colourful dishes? You can be entered to win a 2.5 Quart Vermillion Baker from CW by CorningWare (Retail value $21.99) by leaving a comment below on this blog post (be sure to use your real first name and email) until Sunday, October 11 at 12:00am. For a second entry, like or comment on An Italian Canadian Life on Facebook within the same time period. Good luck everyone!
This giveaway is open from Thursday, October 8th, 2015 until Sunday, October 11th, 2015 at 12:00AM EST and is only open to residents of Canada (including Quebec) — Sorry US/Intl. friends! The winner will be chosen randomly via random.org, contacted via email, and have 48 hours to respond. You will need to provide a street address (not a P.O. Box) and a phone number to claim the prize.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by World Kitchen. An Italian Canadian Life was compensated monetarily and with product, however all opinions (and recipes!) expressed are our own, 100% honest and based on the interests of the blog community, as our readers are valued.