Roasted vegetable pasta inspired by ratatouille, but so much better

One of my favorite parts of creating a new recipe is the element of surprise that occurs when my first attempt turns out to be different than I expected. Sometimes the alchemy of combining ingredients and bringing them to life results in something even better than I imagined – and that makes cooking an adventure that never gets old for me. Today’s pasta was born out of such a happy accident – I set out to make the perfect ratatouille recipe and in the process realized that for me, it was missing main course energy. So I started experimenting, and my ratatouille-style roasted vegetable pasta was born.

For me, it’s the perfect late summer and September recipe for those weeknights that become a blur back to whatever your schedule includes. It uses the best of the end of summer bounty (eggplantzucchini, peppers) which are actually at their best just before autumn burst onto the scene in all its golden glory. And because these veggies are slowly cooked together to an almost stew-like consistency, this dish has that coziness that I’m starting to crave at this time of year, just like cozy socks and pumpkin bread.

Traditional ratatouille ingredients

For the uninitiated, let’s start by pointing out what makes this roasted vegetable pasta look like ratatouille (and no, it has nothing to do with a rat.) Ratatouille is a summer vegetable stew that has originated from a French dish from Provence. It features the humble but delicious vegetables that typically grow in late summer and early fall gardens: zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, and herbs.

In traditional ratatouille, all the vegetables are cut into chunks and cooked with plenty of olive oil until they melt together and become a bit mushy. So as I began my quest to make the perfect ratatouille recipe, this is where I started, serving it simply with crusty bread to soak up all the juices. It was good, but for me, something was missing.

How to Make Roasted Vegetable Ratatouille Pasta

What I really felt my ratatouille needed to make it not only good, but envy-worthy was Pasta. More specifically, big rigatoni cooked al dente which would be perfect for soaking up all those juices in its crevices. So after cooking all my ratatouille vegetables, I simply tossed them with cooked rigatoni, added a little more olive oil and lots of parmesan shavings, and the end result was an incredibly summery pasta simple that are far more than the sum of its parts. Each fork is the perfect ratio of veggies to pasta, and the presentation is gorgeous enough for a dinner party, too.

What makes this roasted vegetable pasta so easy?

I’m not exaggerating when I say this dinner only requires about 15 minutes of hands-on cooking time. Other than the pot you use to boil the pasta, all the vegetables, herbs and spices in this dish are cooked together on a single plate. You’ll want to stagger the cooking time a little as the recipe says, as eggplant, zucchini, and garlic need to cook a little longer than tomatoes, peppers, and onions. By letting everything cook to that ratatouille-like consistency, the vegetables create a sauce that lightly coats each piece of pasta and makes the final dish so satisfying.

I also use high quality canned tomatoes here, which (call me crazy) taste just as good as fresh tomatoes in this dish. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely hate the chore of cutting fresh tomatoes into chunks, so I’m always on the lookout for opportunities to take a canned tomato shortcut. I love San Marzano tomatoes if you can find them, but a good quality canned fire roasted tomato always does the trick too.

Tips for making ahead and storing leftovers

One of the nice things about ratatouille is that it tastes even better the next day, and the same goes for this pasta with roasted vegetables. Just pack it in an airtight container in the fridge, then warm it gently on the stovetop or on medium power in the microwave with a little extra olive oil to keep it from drying out. Perfect leftover meals are served.

It’s also a great dish to make ahead, as it’s just as good served at room temperature as it is right out of the oven. If you’re having friends over for dinner, go ahead and transfer that Roasted Veggie Pasta to your larger serving bowl, place it in the center of the table, then adopt that Provençal-style ease and let it hang out while you sip rosé and mingle over a snack or two before dinner. After all, summer isn’t over yet.

Scroll through the recipe for this Ratatouille Roasted Vegetable Pasta, then leave a rating and review so we can hear how it goes, and tag me on instagram if you try.

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