Cooking time: 25-30 minutes
Bella stagione means “beautiful season” in Italian. Stefano explains that he created this recipe in memory of his grandparents Emilio and Anna who were vegetable and flower sellers at Montreal’s Jean Talon market. His grandmother ran the kiosk until she was 82, and could be seen, rain or shine, in her apron extolling the quality of her tomatoes.
In 2012, Stefano teamed up with Barilla, Italy’s #1 brand of pasta, to represent its products in Canada and promote its spirit of conviviality and sharing. While still committed to the classic range in their familiar blue boxes, Stefano was won over by the new collection of whole-grain pastas that are quickly gaining new converts. Why? Because they’re made from 51% whole grain, providing all the benefits of whole grain along with the texture and flavor that traditional pasta fans love. Simple – when you think about it!
Pasta should not be rinsed after cooking. The natural starches released from the pasta complement the pasta meal because they help “bind” the sauce that is to be used, and allow the sauce to adhere better to the pasta.
- Dice the onion and the celery stalk. Peel the eggplant. Cut in cubes the eggplant and the zucchini.
- Prepare the sausage: casing removed and crumbled.
- In a sauté pan on medium-high, heat 45 mL of olive oil and add the onion.
- Once the onion is translucent, add the celery and the crumbled sausage and sauté for 5-7 minutes until sausage has browned.
- Add the diced tomatoes, hot pepper flakes and water, season with salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, bring a sufficient amount of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to box directions.
- In a medium frying pan, heat the rest of the olive oil and add the eggplant and zucchini. Sauté for 5-7 minutes or until vegetables are tender but crisp. Reserve.
- Remove the sauté pan from the heat, add the basil leaves whole, cover and let stand 5 minutes.
- Add the pasta to the sauce and mix well.
Serve the pasta in a dish garnished with the sautéed vegetables, some freshly grated Parmigiano cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. If the sauce is too thick, add a little stock or water to desired consistency.
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