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Grilled Vegetables Star in Summer Pasta

Add a kiss of smoke to the season’s best produce for colorful, healthful, delicious dinners.

June/July 2017 Issue
photos: Scott Phillips
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As husband-and-wife recipe developers, we agree about most things when it comes to food. I (Marge) gravitate to fish and vegetables, while David is a grill-loving carnivore. Our happy meeting place is standing over a grill full of vegetables. We love the way vegetables intensify over fire; their flavors deepen, and their textures transform. Simple produce gets new swagger from a hint of smoke, and when paired with pasta a great vehicle for absorbing the juices that result from grilling makes a delicious and satisfying summer meal.

These pastas are delicious on their own as a vegetarian main course, but are also good topped with grilled shrimp or seared scallops, or served alongside grilled steak, chicken, or sausage. Delicious hot, they’re also tasty at room temperature, which makes them great as part of a spread at a barbecue.

If you’d rather not light the stove and grill at the same time, boil the pasta a day ahead. Simply cook it to just shy of al dente, cool it quickly under cold water, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat the pasta under hot running water just before tossing with the vegetables.

The recipes here feature some of our favorite combinations of grilled vegetables, but feel free to use them as inspiration to create your own grilled vegetable pastas. Either way, you’re sure to become a fan, too.

 

A Guide to Grilling Vegetables

To toss with pasta, grill vegetables in larger pieces, then chop afterward. Unless otherwise noted, all should get a light coating of oil before they meet the flames.

Grilling Tips

  • Get the grill good and hot. The irresistible flavor of grilled vegetables comes from their juices caramelizing at high heat. For best results, grill them over medium-high (400°F to 475°F) heat.
  • Go light on the oil with mushrooms and eggplant. They tend to absorb a lot of oil; too much can make them soggy
  • Keep them on the grill. Position long skinny vegetables like asparagus perpendicular to the grate. Skewer small vegetables like cherry tomatoes and  mushrooms, or use a vegetable basket
  • Grill them ahead. Grilled vegetables can hold at room temperature for a few hours.

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