My famiglia loves vegetables, especially when oven roasted or cooked on the barbecue grill. The heady aroma would draw us from wherever we were to Mammina’s kitchen every time. Our famiglia’s table offered a variety of vegetables from breakfast to dinner in every season. As a young girl, I learned to love my mother’s sautéed sweet spinach and broccoli rabe greens with their bitter bite and garlic-enhanced flavor.
Mammina would prepare a healthy mix of vegetables from our summer garden (giardino) and our farmers market finds in upstate New York. In this dish, I use a mix of my favorite seasonal ripe vegetables and roast them in the oven until they are soft, sweet and full of flavor. I choose ripe, colorful vegetables and create this dish that my family and I enjoy as we celebrate the season of the moment.
Serve as a side, a spread for sandwiches or try it combined with cooked pasta or risotto for a light vegetarian meal. We like this as an appetizer, served with toasted bruschetta and fresh herbs to taste. Be sure to add this recipe to your food files to serve at family meals and party gatherings any season of the year.
bunch of baby purple Italian eggplant
NOTE: I found these delightful baby purple eggplant (melanzana) at my local Indian grocer and love to use them in this dish for a sweet flavor and little to no seeds.
You can substitute with a Sicilian round eggplant or choose the smallest traditional Italian purple eggplant to keep the seeds to a minimum.
(store tomatoes at room temperature to ripen for full, natural sweetness)
1 container of baby bella or white button mushrooms, quartered
fresh garlic cloves (2-3 to taste)
1 small red or sweet yellow onion
good quality white wine
salt and pepper to taste
NOTE: Choose a mix of vegetables you love per season, try any variety of mushroom (or a mix is great too!), small eggplant, ripe tomato, onions, sweet bell peppers, etc.
You can use zucchini, just note that these will roast faster so you may have to add them in the middle of the cooking process so as not to overcook them.
Wash and dry all the vegetables. Peel the eggplant to remove most of peel; cut into small chunks. Chop the roma tomatos, or if using the grape tomatoes , keep these whole. Slice up the red onion into small to medium slices.
Finely chop the parsley and set aside; wash the basil leaves and set aside to dry.
Cut the mushrooms into quarters and combine all the chopped veggies on to a large metal baking tray. Chop the garlic cloves and scatter over your vegetable mixture; season with salt and pepper to taste. Add a splash of white wine, small squeeze of lemon juice and a good drizzle of olive oil; combine well.
Place the combined vegetable mixture in a preheated oven (at 425 to 445 degrees fahrenheit.)
Roast the vegetables until soft and tender. Use a metal spatula to move the mixture around during the roasting to make sure all pieces cook well and are coated with the seasonings.
Remove from the oven and let cool. Add the fresh chopped parsley and tear up some fresh basil leaves to your taste. Serve immediately or refrigerate for later use (will keep in the fridge for about 3-4 days in sealed container.)
Note: Photography provided by Annette L. Venditti