Pasta Salad with Grilled Eggplant and Feta
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Serves 4-6 as a side dish
by Allison Ehri Kreitler
from Grilling, 2011
This cool pasta dish makes a great side for grilled lamb chops or burgers. If you like, substitute goat cheese or diced fresh mozzarella for the feta.
For the vinaigrette
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small clove garlic, mashed to a paste with a pinch of kosher salt
1 Tbs. red wine vinegar, more to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salad
1/2 lb. dried penne, cellentani, or rotini pasta
1 medium globe eggplant, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil; more as needed
1/2 cup small-diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup crumbled feta
Make the vinaigrette
In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil with the garlic, and vinegar. Season with a pinch each of salt and pepper.
Make the salad
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook the pasta until al dente and drain.
Meanwhile, prepare a medium-high charcoal or gas grill fire. Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with olive oil and season with salt. Grill (covered on a gas grill) until golden-brown grill marks form, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the eggplant and grill until tender and well marked on the second sides, another 3 to 4 minutes. The interior should be grayish and soft rather than white and hard. Dice the eggplant.
In a large bowl, combine the cooked pasta and 1-1/2 cups of the diced eggplant. Add the pepper, basil or parsley, feta, and vinaigrette and toss. Adjust the salt, pepper, and vinegar to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Photo: Scott Phillips