Thursday, March 8, 2012

WFD? Pasta Fresca

Thursday, March 8, 2012
There are a lot of things that I miss about living in Dallas.

First is the shopping.  No more needs to be said about that.

The second, is the food.  I miss the vast variety of fine dining and casual eateries.  Don't get me wrong, food in Joplin is good, but there are restaurants I miss desperately.

So speaking of shopping and dining, I found myself thinking of The Grand Luxe Cafe last night. It was a place I would stop in often while shopping in the Galleria (that I used to live only 2 short exits away from....oh yes, it was dangerous).

I recently made a trip to D-town for my bestie Kim's big 30th celebration.  While I was there, I filled up on as much Tex-Mex as possible, of course.  I hit up the N Bistro at Nordstrom (the fries and olive aoli - my god).  I even managed to sneak some Pinkberry in.  But I never got around to visitng the Grand Luxe Cafe.

I also hit up Central Market.  One of my greatest thrills in life is shopping at a fabulous grocery store.  I often walk into Central Market, breath it in, and I am convinced that it is the happiest place on earth.  It truly rivals Disney World for me.  And while I was there this last trip, I picked up the most beautiful baby eggplants and colorful cherry tomatoes.

And I got to thinking....Grande Luxe Cafe's Pasta Fresca...that would hit the spot.  And it would feature this baby eggplant to boot.  Light, full of flavor, full of veggies.  Sounded good to me.

I have attempted to recreate this dish before at home, but really, my motivation was lacking, because I could just head less than a mile down the road and eat it whenever I wanted.  But not now.  Now, it's hundreds of miles away.  And I really wanted it.

So I got to cooking.  I called up my BF (you know, Google....Google is hot) and alas, there were no recipes for it posted that I could find.  I was going to have to guess it and start from the ground up.  All I knew was the recipe description which read:

Pasta Fresca
Corkscrew Pasta Tossed with Roasted Eggplant, Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes, Asparagus, Broccoli, Peppers, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, Garlic, Olive Oil and Parmesan


So, I thought what the heck, I'll wing it.  My goodness!!  I am not really one to toot my own horn (too loud) but this was amazing!  Almost better than the Grand Luxe!  I think it might be my new go to light pasta for lunch and dinner.  It was surprisingly easy to make, full of MAJOR flavor, light and delicious.  You HAVE to make this!  I mean it!!

Pasta Fresca

16 oz uncooked corkscrew pasta (I think Grand Luxe uses gemelli, I used torchio)
one baby eggplant, diced into one inch cubes (about 1 1/2 c)
12 oz multicolored heirloom cherry or grape tomatoes
 1 c broccoli florets
1 large sweet orange or yellow bell pepper, sliced
5 sun-dried tomato halves (packed in oil), sliced, plus 1 TBSP oil from jar
2/3 c Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1 TBSP minced garlic
2 TBSP Olive Oil, divided
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 400.
Cook pasta according to package directions.  Reserve 1/4 c cooking water.  Set aside and keep warm.

Place eggplant, tomatoes, broccoli, bell pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, oil from tomatoes, kalmata olives, garlic, red pepper flakes and 1 TBSP olive oil in a large ziplock bag.  Add salt and pepper.  Gently roll bag to coat veggies with the oil.  Pour out onto a baking sheet lined with foil.  Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, stirring half way through.  Combine pasta and veggies together.  Pour the reserved pasta water in the baking sheet and use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to get up any bits stuck to the foil.  Pour it into the pasta mix.  Add remaining 1 TBSP olive oil.  Toss well to combine.  Top with some freshly grated parmesan cheese.  ENJOY! 

Don't forget to enter my Sugarlicious giveaway!  The giveaway ends Friday March 9, 2012 at 11:59PM Central.  The winner will be announced Monday March 12, 1012!  Open to US Residents only.

And keep reading throughout the next month for even more fabulous giveaways!  There will be one a week for 5 weeks!


Paula said...

How nice that you were able to get back to Dtown and spend time with your BFF on her birthday!
This pasta looks so good and hearty!
P.S. Didn't enter the Sugarlicious giveaway but think it is lovely that you are having one. Love Miss Meaghan :)

Nisha said...

Eggplant with pasta, ah this I've got to try!
Suggest me some good reasonable shopping and dining places in Dallas/Irving area? May be you can write a separate post about it ... might help others searching about it too :)

My Cookie Kitchen said...

What does the WFD stand for?

Brenda said...

Brenda - My Cookie Kitchen
W hat's F or D inner

Alison said...

haha! Didn't see these comments till now, I'm not getting my notifications for some reason. But My Cookie Kitchen, it looks like Brenda has me covered! haha!
WFD also stands for What's For Dessert. :)

Alison said...

Nisha, what's your idea of reasonable...haha! I can definitely recommend my favorites... :)
Not a bad post idea, thanks! Next time I head down there I'll walk around with my camera like a crazy tourist and get some pics. :)


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