As an incurable over-shopper at farmers markets, I've learned to save vegetables I don't use right away by grilling them.
Sliced, olive-oil-brushed vegetables that are cooked crisp-tender with slightly charred edges are a perfect accompaniment to grilled chicken, chops or steaks for one night's dinner.
But buying and grilling just two more peppers, another sweet onion, some cherry tomatoes and some fresh herbs will dazzle a pound of pasta for another night's meal.
Penne With Grilled Vegetables
Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 20 minutes
1 pound penne
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 grilled red bell pepper, chopped
1 grilled yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped
1 large, grilled sweet onion, such as a Vidalia or Maui, chopped
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup coarsely chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil
Freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Cook the pasta until al dente, about 10 to 12 minutes.
While the pasta is cooking, warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the red and yellow grilled peppers, onion and cherry tomatoes. Gently stir until just heated through.
Drain the pasta and place it in a warm serving bowl. Add the vegetables plus all the olive oil from the skillet, and toss to combine. Sprinkle the parsley and basil over top, add salt and pepper to taste, and toss gently to combine. Garnish with the cheese. Serve immediately.
4 servings. Each serving: 406 calories; 239 mg sodium; 6 mg cholesterol; 21 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 44 grams carbohydrates; 11 grams protein; 4.89 grams fiber.
Morgan is co-author of "Cooking for the Week: Leisurely Weekend Cooking for Easy Weekday Meals," (Chronicle Books, $18.95).
Napkins and plate from Sur La Table stores.