Mezze penne tricolore with roasted summer vegetables and walnuts

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Rachel's vibrant roasted vegetable pasta recipe is a great celebration of Mediterranean colour, thanks to the use of mezze penne tricolour pasta, which is flavoured with tomato and spinach to reflect the green, white and red of Italy's flag. This wonderfully easy recipe is finished with walnuts for a delectable crunch.

First published in 2016

Probably the easiest summer pasta dish you can throw together with minimal fuss, space and equipment is roasted vegetables, cooked so that they are tender and form their own sauce, tossed together with a pasta shape of your choice (though I always find penne works best, choosing a good tricolour variety like Barilla where you can actually taste the tomato and spinach) and a handful of chopped nuts for a bit of crunch. This is the first dish I make when I move into a new flat (any leftovers are delicious cold), and it is also my perfect go-to on holiday in a rental kitchen.

The formula is pretty basic, but there are a few things I like to do to upgrade the dish. While almonds or pine nuts would be the more obvious choice, I find walnuts add a bit of smokiness to the dish. I use a mixture of extra virgin olive oil and unsalted butter to finish the sauce, but you could use just one or the other. While they are delicious chopped and roasted, the vegetables would be even better barbecued in larger pieces then roughly chopped before being added to the pasta. Finally, any soft herbs you have to hand, especially basil, will only make your supper even better.




Roasted vegetable pasta


Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 8
Cut the pepper and the courgettes into small to medium chunks – cutting them slightly smaller than you’d usually cut vegetables for roasting will help cut down on the cooking time. Halve the tomatoes and the aubergine down the middle, and score the aubergine flesh
Toss the courgette and pepper with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and transfer to a baking tray. Also place the tomatoes and aubergine halves on the tray, cut-side up. Season them with a little salt and olive oil and roast in the oven for 30 minutes
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a pan of boiling, salted water for 11–15 minutes until just tender. Roughly chop the walnuts
Once the vegetables are ready, drain the pasta and return it to the pan. Add the roasted courgette and pepper pieces. Using a large spoon, scrape out the flesh of the aubergine onto a chopping board and discard the skin
Along with the tomatoes, roughly chop the flesh and transfer it, along with any excess juices, to the pasta along with the walnuts (setting a few aside to garnish each bowl). Add a light splash of olive oil and a knob of butter
Stir until everything has combined and the sauce from the vegetables has coated the pasta. Season to taste and serve

Rachel is a food writer, splitting time between the Kentish and French countrysides.

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