What's For Dinner: One-Pan Harvest Pasta

A couple of months ago D and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary with a trip to Ironwood, Michigan for a weekend stay at the Bear Track Cabins near the shores of Lake Superior. The cabin we stayed at was on just-the-right-side of rustic chic. Given its backwoods location (not meant in a derogatory manner, it was located in the middle of nowhere), we had no cell service for the majority of the weekend. And it was actually quite liberating! I am definitely guilty of endlessly checking my phone for updates in this app or that, and it was quite nice to turn my phone off and forget about it for a few days. (Well, aside from a short trek to Black River Harbor where there was cell service -- you can bet your bottom dollar I instagrammed the heck out of the forest, waterfalls, and scenic Lake Superior shoreline while we wandered the trails with Leroy.)

All this to say that while unplugged I had plenty of time to catch up on my reading. And since D has commandeered my Kindle of late, I had a number of magazine issues to read through once I got my hands back on it. Since moving back to the Midwest, I started reading Midwest Living, and I have to say the magazine never fails to provide several recipes that I end up pinning for later. The one-pan harvest pasta recipe published in the magazine's September issue went directly to my bookmarks list. I've made it two times thus far; the first time in my Dutch oven and the second time in a large skillet. Using a large skillet is your better bet, as more surface area means your veggies will cook more evenly. You will want to use a skillet with a lid; I've found a sheet or two of aluminum foil can work as a lid in a pinch if necessary.

The resulting dish is full of flavor, chockful of veggies, and quite satisfying. Though the original recipe says it makes four servings, I think it's more realistic to say it makes six to eight servings; unless you prefer ginormous portions or are particularly hungry.

One-Pan Harvest Pasta (printer-friendly version)
makes 6-8 servings

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
1/3 cup chopped red or yellow onion (the red onion provides a slightly sharper flavor)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 19-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 cup elbow macaroni (uncooked)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
coarse sea salt and coarse ground black pepper
torn fresh basil (for garnish)
freshly-grated Parmesan (for garnish)

1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add in the eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, onion, and garlic and saute until tender, about 7-9 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the vegetables from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
2. Stir in the cannellini beans, vegetable broth, elbow macaroni, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Place the cover on the skillet and let cook, stirring occasionally, for 7-10 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente.
3. Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh basil and Parmesan before serving.

(adapted from this Midwest Living recipe)