Fregola Sarda Warm Pasta Salad with Mushrooms, Roasted Eggplant and Pecans
Vegan foodie & photographer, Odile Joly-Petit
Instagram: @odilejp | laveganedacote.wordpress.com
1 cup dry fregola sarda pasta*
1 medium eggplant, diced
Drizzle of olive oil, salt & pepper
½ cup raw pecans
½ tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 garlic cloves
300 g mushrooms, sliced (try a mix of different mushrooms, such as shiitake, king oyster, oyster and/or normal white button mushrooms)
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp tamari
150 ml coconut milk
1 cup flat or curly parsley
1 small red onion, thinly sliced and soaked in fresh water for 30-60 min (soaking is optional) Kalamata olives (optional)
*Fregola sarda is Italian pasta. If you have a hard time finding it, you can always replace it with other short pasta (such as orzo) or simply substitute Israeli couscous or sorghum grain.
Preheat the oven to 420°F/215°C. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. On a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, spread out the diced eggplant with a drizzle of olive oil and a few pinches of salt
and pepper. Bake the eggplant for 20 minutes, checking and turning halfway through. After 20 minutes, push the eggplant on one side of the baking sheet, add the raw pecans on the other side and bake an extra 6-8 minutes.
Transfer the eggplant and pecans into 2 different bowls and set aside. In a large pan over medium heat, heat the sesame oil and then sauté the garlic for 30-60 seconds until fragrant. In the same pan, sauté the mushrooms, adding them in 2 to 3 batches. Start with the mushrooms that take time to soften, and then add those that take less time, from shiitake and king oysters to white buttons and oysters. Cook them until they have released their water, softened and slightly browned. It might take 2-4 minutes per batch.
Deglaze your pan with the mirin and tamari. Add the roasted eggplant and the coconut milk. Bring the coconut milk to a boil, then simmer until half-reduced. Add the cooked fregola sarda pasta, mix and let the coconut milk reduce completely. Turn off the heat and transfer to a big bowl. Let cool a few minutes, then add the parsley, toasted pecans and the red onion (soaked and filtered). Serve with a few kalamata olives if desired.