Garden Pasta with Lemon and Parmesan Cheese recipe

Garden Pasta with Lemon and Parmesan Cheese

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Roasting vegetables brings out their natural sweetness and adds a great caramelized flavor to whatever you’re making. That’s what makes this garden pasta taste so good. It combines the flavor of roasted eggplant, tomatoes, and zucchini with the light fresh taste of lemon and parmesan cheese. With just a little preparation, it basically takes care of itself in the oven. Just toss the vegetables in olive oil, arrange them evenly on a baking sheet, and cook at a high heat until tender. As simple as that, you have an instant boost of flavor for your pasta.

When choosing eggplant for this recipe, I prefer one of the smaller varieties such as Japanese or Chinese because they seem to have a better texture and thinner skin. They’re also not as bitter as the larger globe eggplant. They range in color from pink to dark purple, and almost black in some instances. Grape or cherry tomatoes break down somewhat during the cooking process, but they impart a wonderful flavor to this dish.

In addition to the roasted vegetables, I add 2 cups of baby spinach in with the pasta during the last minute of cooking, just long enough to wilt the leaves. It adds a nice depth of flavor, and it ups the nutritional value.

Garden Vegetables for Garden Pasta with Lemon and Parmesan Cheese
Japanese Eggplant for Garden Pasta with Lemon and Parmesan Cheese


  • After draining the pasta, I like to use the same pan to sauté the garlic and mix all the ingredients together. This saves cleanup time with minimal pans to wash.
  • In the past, I tried to guess how much spaghetti I would need for a particular dish, and I would usually end up cooking too much. Now I use the unsophisticated method of weighing it out in a drinking glass. It’s very simple, but effective. Place the glass on your kitchen scale and press and hold the tare button to zero out the weight of the glass. Change the measurement units to your preference and fill the glass with the desired amount of dried pasta.

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Garden Pasta with Lemon and Parmesan Cheese


  • 2 zucchini, ends trimmed, cut into 3/4-inch slices (cut each slice in half, if needed)
  • 1/2 pound Japanese eggplant, ends trimmed, cut into 3/4-inch slices (if the eggplant is larger than 2 inches in diameter, cut the slices in half)
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 12 ounces thin spaghetti
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the zucchini and eggplant in a large bowl and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Toss to coat. Place the zucchini and eggplant on a large baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the tomatoes to the same bowl and coat with the small amount of oil remaining from the vegetables. Set aside. After the vegetables have cooked 15 minutes, add the tomatoes to the pan, give it a quick stir, and roast for an additional 15 minutes.

Cook 12 ounces of thin spaghetti according to the package directions until al dente. Add the baby spinach to the pasta during the last minute of cooking time. Drain in a colander.

Wipe out the pan and add the butter and remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Heat on medium-low until the butter is melted. Add the garlic and sauté about 30 to 40 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in the salt. Return the pasta back to the pan, along with the lemon zest and juice. Toss to combine. Scatter the grated parmesan on top, add the roasted vegetables, and toss again, gently.

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