Suddenly I See

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Balsamic Garden Pasta Salad

This is the recipe I made for "The Cooking Experiment" a few weeks back.


1 pound fusilli pasta (corkscrew noodles)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 eggplant (about 1 1/4 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Salt and Pepper
2 cups mixed greens
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced (I didn't use this)
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (I skipped this also)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar


1) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain, then rinse with cold water; transfer to large bowl.
2) Meanwhile, in a large non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat; add the eggplant, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until soft and golden, 7 to 9 minutes. Add to the pasta and toss; let cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes.
3) Add the mixed greens, bell pepper, mozzarella, onion, parsley, and vinegar to the pasta and toss. Season with salt and pepper.

This salad was really good. It was a great side dish for dinner but the leftovers alone were also really filling the next day for lunch. This would also be great to take to a potluck, although maybe a little expensive to make in large quantities.

A few things that I would do differently would be to use more eggplant (is there a good way to cut eggplant?). Eggplant really shrinks when it is being cooked and when they say cook only 7 to 9 minutes they mean it because eggplant also burns easily. It was my first experience cooking eggplant and eating it also (other than Eggplant Parmesan). It is really tasty and would have been good as a side all by itself.

The mozzarella and balsamic vinegar tasted great with the whole salad. Some of the cheese melted to the pasta and some just stayed in cubes.

Overall it was a great salad with different textures and I would definitely make it again.

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