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Gluten-free penne with caponata and smoked mozzarella

Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, Soy-Free

2 Servings, 600 Calories/Serving

20 – 30 Minutes

Loaded with eggplant, tomatoes, olives, and capers, this Sicilian-inspired vegetarian pasta gets a creamy, subtly smoky flavor from smoked mozzarella.

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces gluten-free quinoa penne
  • 1 globe eggplant
  • 1 or 2 shallots
  • 3 tablespoons pitted Castelvetrano olives
  • ⅔ cup cherry tomatoes
  • Caponata spice blend (allspice - sweet smoked paprika - nutmeg)
  • 1½ tablespoons capers
  • 3½ ounces smoked mozzarella
  • 3 or 4 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon red chile flakes (optional)

Chef's Tip

Sprinkling eggplant with salt and letting it stand for 10 minutes before cooking helps draw out the solanine, a compound found in the flesh that can cause bitterness. Dab off any moisture and excess salt with a paper towel after the eggplant “sweats.”

Instructions

1

Cook the penne

Bring a medium sauce pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, reserving ½ cup pasta cooking water.
While the water heats and the penne cooks, prepare the vegetables.

2

Prep the vegetables

  • Remove the stem from the eggplant; cut the eggplant lengthwise into ½-inch-thick slices. Sprinkle the slices on both sides with salt and lay them on a paper-towel-lined sheet pan. Let stand for 10 minutes; pat dry. Cut each slice lengthwise into 1-inch-wide strips, then crosswise into 1-inch cubes.
  • Peel and finely chop the shallots.
  • Cut the olives in half.
  • Cut the cherry tomatoes in half.

3

Cook the vegetables

In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm 1 to 2 tablespoons oil until hot but not smoking. Add the eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally, until it starts to brown and soften, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the shallots and spice blend and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the olives, tomatoes, capers, and the reserved pasta cooking water. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots and tomatoes soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
While the vegetables cook, prepare the mozzarella and parsley.

4

Prep the mozzarella and parsley; finish the pasta

  • Cut the mozzarella into ½-inch cubes.
  • Strip the parsley leaves from the stems; coarsely chop the leaves for garnish.
To the pan with the eggplant mixture, off the heat, add the balsamic vinegar, mozzarella, penne, and as many chile flakes as you like and toss to combine.

5

Serve

Transfer the penne to individual bowls, garnish with the parsley, and serve.

Nutrition per serving: Protein: 23g (46% DV), Fiber: 14g (56% DV), Total Fat: 22g (34% DV), Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 7g (35% DV), Cholesterol: 35mg (12% DV), Sodium: 930mg (39% DV), Carbohydrates: 81g (27% DV), Total Sugars: 15g, Added Sugars: 0g (0% DV). Not a significant source of trans fat.
Contains: Milk.

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