Aired February 5, 2008
1 head garlic
1 medium eggplant, ends removed, peeled and cut into small chunks
2 to 3 medium zucchini, ends removed, quartered and into small chunks
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeds removed and cut into small chunks
1 large onion, cut into small chunks
4 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
1 pound whole wheat penne
1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 cup (a large handful) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more to pass at the table
Preheat oven to 450F. Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil.
Cut a sliver off the top of the garlic head just large enough to expose the cloves. Tear off a large square of aluminum foil and place the garlic in the center. Drizzle a small amount of EVOO over the head and wrap the foil up around it. Place in the oven and roast until golden brown and tender, about 45 minutes.
While the garlic is roasting, cut up the veggies and place everything except the tomatoes on one or two large baking sheets, along with the thyme leaves.
Once the garlic has been roasting for about 15 minutes, drizzle the veggies with EVOO and season them with some salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast them in the oven until tender and caramelized, about 30 minutes.
Once the veggies have been in the oven about 10 minutes, place the tomatoes onto another baking sheet, drizzle them with EVOO and hit them with some salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss them into the oven with the other veggies and roast until they've burst and shriveled up slightly, 15-20 minutes.
Once the veggies have about 10 minutes left to go, drop the pasta into the boiling water and cook to al dente according to package directions. Before draining the pasta, ladle about 3/4 cup or so of the pasta cooking liquid into a large serving bowl. Drain the pasta and reserve.
Once the garlic is done roasting, allow it to cool enough to handle, then hold the head in your hand over the bowl with the pasta water and squeeze out all of the roasted cloves into the bowl. Add the tomatoes and mash everything together.
Add the roasted veggies, drained pasta, parsley and grated Parmigiano to the bowl and toss it all to combine.
Pass some additional Parmigiano-Reggiano at the table along with the bowl of pasta.