Who doesn’t like pasta? Baby Lady & I love pasta and are thankful for whoever invented pasta and the faithful followers who have continued to improve upon it. There is a pasta for everyone and so many different shapes and sizes. You have Anelli (Rings), Capellini D’Angelo (Angel Hair Pasta), Fettuccine (Small Ribbons), Fusilli (Twisted Spaghetti), Linquine (Small Tongues), Rigatoni (Large Grooved Pasta), Spaghettini (Narrow Spaghetti), just to name a few. This dish uses Campenelle pasta, although you can use Penne or similar pasta. Campanelle in Italian means little bells. It is a type of pasta which is shaped like a small bell or flower and is sometimes referred to as gigli or riccioli.
Campanelle is intended to be served with a thick sauce, or in a casserole, like this one.
This is a fabulous dish just bursting with wonderful flavors! It’s simple, relatively quick to make for weeknight meals and can be made the day before and refrigerated. The eggplant adds a meatiness to the dish. The Kalamata Olives give a contrast in texture, some saltiness and add to the depth of flavor. The red peppers add some sweetness while you get brightness from the tomatoes, freshness from the basil and creaminess and bite from the feta. This recipe is a real keeper. In fact, it is so good that after Baby Lady saw this post, she fixed it again for dinner. Delish! Good thing, too, because now I have the prep photos to include in the post.
- 8 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 pound red bell peppers, diced
- 6 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
- 1 1 1/4 pound eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
- 1 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pitted Kalamata olives or other brine-cured black olives
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 12 ounces Campanelle pasta
- 14 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
Brush 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish with 2 tablespoons oil.
Heat remaining 6 tablespoons oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers, garlic and crushed pepper; sauté 3 minutes.
Add eggplant and oregano.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover; cook until eggplant softens, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Mix in tomatoes with juices, 1/2 cup basil, olives, tomato paste and vinegar.
Cover; simmer until all vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite; drain well. Stir pasta into vegetable mixture.
Transfer to prepared dish.
Cover dish with foil. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake pasta covered until heated through, about 20 minutes (40 minutes if refrigerated). Sprinkle with feta, then 1/2 cup basil. Serve and enjoy!
NOTES: While 12 oz of Feta Cheese seems like a lot (it is) it is not a mistake. The feta creams out the dish, adds some saltiness and bite. If you are not a fan of feta, reduce the amount of feta or use fresh Mozzarella or goat cheese. Without the feta, however, you will lose that little bite that comes with it.