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Grilled-Vegetable Pasta with Cumin

If you're a fan of grilled vegetables, here's a fine way to turn them into a meal. We've selected a combination of eggplant, zucchini, and red bell pepper, but you can replace any of them with another vegetable, such as onions, tomatoes, or mushrooms.

  • Servings: 4

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  • 1 small eggplant (about 1 pound), cut into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 2 small zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 red bell pepper, quartered
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 pound penne rigate
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


  1. Light the grill or heat the broiler. In a large shallow bowl, toss the eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper, and garlic with 2 tablespoons of the oil, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of the black pepper. If using the broiler, arrange the vegetables in a single layer on one large or two smaller baking sheets, preferably nonstick. Grill or broil in batches, turning the vegetables once, until they are tender and lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Cut the vegetables into 1 1/2-inch pieces.
  2. In a small glass or stainless-steel bowl, whisk together the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, cumin, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
  3. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the penne rigate until just done, about 13 minutes. Reserve about 3 tablespoons of the pasta water. Drain the penne and toss with 1 tablespoon of the reserved pasta water, the oil-and-lemon-juice mixture, and the vegetables. Add more pasta water if the pasta seems dry. Top with some Parmesan cheese and pass additional Parmesan at the table.

Suggested Pairing

The fresh vegetables in this dish and the lemon juice should be matched with a lively, acidic white wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc. It's easy to find a Californian, but you might also try one from South Africa or New Zealand.

Photo © Lucy Schaeffer Published June 2012

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