You know those days when you feel like there’s nothing in the fridge, but then suddenly you’re able to rally enough ingredients to pull together a great meal? You feel accomplished, creative and oh-so resourceful. The best feeling! Well this isn’t that recipe. This is the recipe that I came up with the night after.
Normally when the fridge is empty and I haven’t gone shopping, we would go out to eat. But it was late – I didn’t want to go out and I definitely wasn’t up for a trip to the grocery store, so I started poking around in the pantry and found a lot more than I expected. And what came out of it may be my favorite dinner from the whole summer.
There was a half box of orzo, pine nuts, some bread crumbs and my favorite dried herbs of the moment – herbs de Provence. In the lonely vegetable drawer there was a shallot, a lemon, garlic, some feta cheese and waaay back there was a giant eggplant (yay! a vegetable!). My mom’s basil and mint plants were blooming away outside so I added handfuls of each to freshen up this pantry-based meal.
The first night I made this, I flaked some salmon into the pasta (it’s what I had on hand), but for the final dish that’s pictured here (after a trip to the store), I used zucchini instead. Grilled zucchini and eggplant are surprisingly substantial in this vegetarian pasta. They’re so substantial, that there’s only a small amount of pasta in the recipe. The lemon and feta makes this rich and tangy, and the pine nuts and bread crumbs give a nice crunch in contrast to the soft textures in the rest of the dish.
My family really loved it and I hope yours does to!