This Rigatoni with Grilled Vegetables is packed with fresh summer veggies! It tastes like summer on a plate!
You guys know how much I love to grill. As soon as the snow melts in the spring, you can find me outside by the grill. (And sometimes I’m out there even before the snow melts. I’ve been known to shovel a path to the grill!) There’s something about being outside on a warm summer day. The smell of the charcoal grill. The feeling of freshly cut grass between your toes. And for me, the sights of wandering through the garden. One of my favorite things to do whenever I’ve got food on the grill is head over to the garden to see if there are any ripe veggies or berries. (Of course, that depends on what’s on the grill. There was that one time that I spent too long in the garden….and my Grilled Bruschetta turned a bit, uh, crispier that I would’ve liked!)
I’ve never thought of myself as a master gardener (I leave that to my Mom), but I have picked up tips along the way. Speaking of my Mom, I have to include a photo of this iris that she brought me last year. Autumn is the perfect time for planting bulbs, and she split (i.e. dug up a portion) of this iris from her yard in Nashville and then replanted it in our yard when she came to visit in September. Yup, she put it in her suitcase and brought those bulbs along with her!
Bulbs are incredibly easy, and we always enjoy seeing them come up in the spring. The fun story about these bulbs is that they’ve been in the family since before the Civil War. I kid you not. My great-great grandmother planted this iris in her yard in Belton, SC, and my mother remembers picking the flowers when she was a little girl. At some point, my mother split that original iris, and she has taken it with her from house to house. It started in Charleston, then it came along with us to 2 different houses in Raleigh, NC, and then she took the bulbs with her to Nashville. And now I have my own clump of bulbs of that very iris. And here’s the funny thing: we don’t even know the name of this iris! But we do know it’s been in the family for well over somewhere around 150 years. Kinda cool, right?
I was a little bit surprised that the iris survived our northeastern winter, but it did. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a good reason to celebrate! (I don’t need much of a reason to pull out the grill!) Once I put the veggies and sausages on the grill for this Rigatoni with Grilled Vegetables, I grabbed my camera to get a couple photos of the iris. And I called my mom to tell her that it is alive and happy in our yard now. Needless to say, she was super excited!
This Rigatoni with Grilled Vegetables is one heck of an awesome summer meal! Everything except for the pasta gets cooked on the grill, and then it all gets cut up and mixed together.
Have you guys ever grilled vegetables? They’re tasty, right? But they can sometimes be difficult to grill. Here’s an easy tip: leave the vegetables in large pieces when you grill ’em. For instance, I just halved the squash and tomatoes. And I cut the eggplant into 4 big slices. The big pieces are easier to flip, and then you can just slice the veggies up when you mix them with the pasta. A fun thing about this Rigatoni with Grilled Vegetables is you can use whatever veggies you like or have on hand. Like squash? Add an extra one on the grill. Prefer zucchini? Use that instead. Or use both! This recipe is super versatile, and the smoky flavor of the grill really comes through. It tastes like summer on a plate!
What reason do you have to celebrate this week?
Rigatoni with Grilled Vegetables
- 1 medium eggplant cut lengthwise into 4 thick slices
- 1 medium yellow squash halved lengthwise
- 1 medium red onion halved
- 3 Tbsp olive oil divided
- 1½ tsp salt divided
- 1½ tsp Italian seasonings divided
- 1 pound Italian sausage links hot or mild
- 4 Roma tomatoes halved
- 1 16-oz. box rigatoni pasta
- ¾ cup fresh basil chopped
- 1½ tsp garlic minced
- ½ cup ricotta cheese
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese grated
- Light charcoal grill for direct heat. (I aim for ~350-375°F when grilling veggies.)
- Brush eggplant, squash and red onions with 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Sprinkle tops of veggies with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp Italian seasonings.
- In a separate bowl, toss Roma tomatoes with ½ Tbsp olive oil, ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp Italian seasonings.
- Place eggplant, squash and onion on grill cut-sides down. Also place sausage on grill at this stage. Grill for 8-9 minutes, turning occasionally.
- Place Roma tomatoes on grill cut-side down and continue grilling for 3-4 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender and sausage is fully cooked. Set vegetables and sausage aside to rest.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta in salted water according to package instructions.
- Slice the vegetables and sausage. In a large bowl, add pasta, remaining 1½ Tbsp olive oil, sliced vegetables and sausage, chopped basil and garlic. Toss until well combined.
- Divide into serving bowls and top with spoonful of ricotta and grated Parmesan cheese.