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Orecchiette Dell'ortolano

  • 1 pound eggplant, washed and sliced 1/2 inch thick, unpeeled
  • 2 red bell peppers, fire-roasted, peeled and seeded
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, cleaned, boiled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 pounds fava beans, peeled
  • 1 pound orecchiette pasta
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped

Yield: 6 servings. Brush the sliced eggplant with some of the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Broil the eggplant on both sides, turning it once, until it is soft and nicely brown. Cut into large cubes and set aside. Put the bell peppers on an open flame to scorch them and remove the skin, seeds and core (or seed and core the peppers, cut them into quarters and place them under the broiler to loosen the skin). Cut the pepper into medium strips and set aside. Cook the asparagus spears in lightly salted water for about 4 minutes. Drain and let them cool. Do not put them into cold water. Cut the asparagus into 1 inch pieces and set aside. Peel off the rough outer skin of the fava beans. Remove the tender little membrane in the inside pods. Discard all but the little bean. Drop the pasta into rapidly boiling, lightly salted water. Stir well, and often, for about 8 minutes or a little less (the pasta must be al dente). Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet and when it is hot add the garlic. Saute the garlic for about 1 minute or until it is just golden. Add the eggplant, bell pepper, asparagus, fava beans and some salt and pepper to taste. Let the mixture cook for about 3 minutes on medium heat. When the pasta is done, drain off all but a tiny bit of cooking water. Add pasta to the skillet with the other ingredients and toss well. Serve very hot in heated pasta bowls. Serves 6.

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