Penne with Broccoli, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Grilled Eggplant

My take on lovely restaurant pasta dish 
Friday afternoon, Artie and I had lunch with Momma Macaroon. We let her pick the place, which was Artie’s Steak and Seafood on City Island (The Bronx, New York). Artie’s was one of our favorite restaurants before going vegan, and still is! 
Side note: How funny that it was called Artie’s, but probably not short for Artichoke (What do you think?)
Going to a steak and seafood restaurant may sound crazy to our non-vegan friends, but it’s not. Many places may have at least one or 2 entrees that befit an herbivore. There are many that will also modify an item or cook something off of the menu with vegan ingredients. Artie’s definitely one of those restaurants. 
While Momma Macaroon ordered some Chilean sea bass, Artichoke ordered the “Linguine Alio Olio,” which was pasta cooked with sliced garlic and olive oil. I ordered the “Ziti with Broccoli, Garlic Olive Oil and Sun-Dried Tomatoes” with a request to have some grilled eggplant with it. Artie mentioned to the waitress that we were vegan and she said she was all too familiar as her niece was one as well. 
After a lovely simple salad, our entrees were served and looked amazing. My ziti was a huge portion, served with big slices of eggplant on top. I knew right away that I would be taking half of this home for dinner. However, I was so in love with this dish that even when I said I was done, I kept nibbling. I finally had to move my plate away so I wouldn’t burst, as I was over the point of being full. 
There only have 2 or 3 instances where I had a great meal at a restaurant that I couldn’t stop thinking about it. This was one of those times. In fact, I made my own version of it with penne tonight for Artie and me because I couldn’t get enough. Everything was really good.
Penne with Broccoli, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Grilled Eggplant
Source: Inspired by Artie’s Ziti with Broccoli, Garlic Olive Oil and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Serves 6-8

Ingredients
  • 1lb of penne, cooked, rinsed and drained
  • 1 eggplant, sliced and grilled (I recommended marinating the sliced eggplant in balsamic vinegar)
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 2 c. broccoli florets, chopped
  • 1 c. sun-dried tomatoes, sliced (not in oil)
  • 1 Tbsp. dried thyme
  • 2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Penne and eggplant should be made a little bit ahead of time and set aside
  2. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil and add garlic cloves. Saute until garlic has browned. 
  3. Add broccoli and sun-dried tomatoes, and stir with oil and garlic
  4. Pour pasta into saucepan and toss with vegetables. Add spices
  5. Serve in bowl or plate and top with slices of grilled eggplant
Dinner from another angle
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