Preparing the perfect pasta

Frequently healthy and almost always delicious, pasta is always popular - winter, spring, summer or fall.

Eggplant pasta dish 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Eggplant pasta dish 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Pasta is always popular – winter spring, summer or fall. It's an easy dinner – frequently healthy and almost always delicious. There are so many recipes that use pasta, it seems impossible to run out of ideas. Here are just a few more to add to your repertoire.
Pasta with Eggplant
3 tablespoons olive oil1 medium eggplant, chopped1 onion, chopped1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes¼ cup red wine1 teaspoon oregano1 teaspoon basil½ teaspoon pepper1 (16-ounce) package pasta (I like shells or cavatappi) Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Heat oil to medium-high in a large skillet.  Add eggplant, onion and garlic and sauté until tender – about ten minutes. 
Stir in tomatoes, wine, oregano, basil and pepper. 
Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes.
In the meantime, cook pasta according to package directions and drain. Immediately toss with eggplant mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Pasta with Imitation Crab Sauce
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
¾ cup water
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 red pepper, diced
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 pound imitation crab, broken into tiny chunks
1 (16-ounce) package rotini or other pasta of your choice
In a large saucepan, mix together tomato sauce, water, mayonnaise, pepper and oregano. 
Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir in mock crab and heat briefly.  In the meantime, cook pasta according to package directions.
Drain and toss with sauce.
Simple Ziti with Cauliflower
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh minced garlic
1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
1 (16-ounce) package ziti
4 cups water
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
In a 12-inch saucepan, sauté garlic in oil over medium-high heat. Add cauliflower and sauté briefly. 
Stir in pasta and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, stir often for 15 to 20 minutes. Pasta should be al dente and liquid should have a thicker sauce-like texture (if it begins to dry out or stick, add more water).
Stir in cheese and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.