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Oven-Roasted Vegetables

SERVES 4 TO 6

Inspiration for many of my recipes comes from my observations of what's available in regions of Italy that I visit. Molise and Campania are two of my favorites, where you can be sure to get some of the best artisanal cheeses like buffalo mozzarella and scamorza. Scamorza is a cow's milk cheese similar in texture to mozzarella and takes its name from its pear or "dunce-cap" shape. It is tied around the top with string and when smoked has a brown rind. This recipe can be doubled to feed a crowd at holiday time.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons Filippo Berio extra-virgin olive oil

1 small eggplant, stemmed, cut into 1/2-inch rounds, and quartered

1 small cauliflower, cut into 1-inch flowerets

1 large red pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 large yellow pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks

6 cloves garlic, peeled

12 spring onions, bulb only, left whole

6 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

6 yellow cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1/2 cup cubed scamorza or mozzarella cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Spray a baking sheet with olive oil. Toss the eggplant, cauliflower, peppers, garlic and onion in a large zip-lock bag with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Spread the vegetables on the baking sheet and roast them for about 10 minutes, or just until the eggplant begins to soften and the cauliflower begins to brown. Turn the vegetables once during the cooking time.

Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl. Add the tomatoes and cheese and gently toss.

Transfer the vegetables to a serving platter. Serve either hot or at room temperature.

Note: Save time by cubing the cheese and storing it in the refrigerator for several days. Seed, cut into chunks, and refrigerate the peppers a day ahead. Variation: Adding canned chickpeas or cannellini beans boosts the protein and will be a hit with vegetarians.

This recipe is from CIAO ITALIA PRONTO by Mary Ann Esposito, published by St. Martin's Press in 2005.

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