Pasta salads can be dull-tasting, but this pasta salad is quite the opposite. Roasting the vegetables intensifies their sweetness to perfection, and the delicious romesco sauce made with roasted pepper and almonds brings the... whole dish together. There may seem to be a lot of ingredients, but the prep and cooking is easy, so this is really worth putting together.
In a large bowl, toss the eggplant, red peppers, cherry tomatoes, shallot, and garlic with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper, to taste. Spread onto a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 20 minutes or until tender and well browned. When the vegetables are done, allow them to cool slightly. Set half of the peppers to one side for the dressing.
Meanwhile, bring a large stockpot full of water to a boil. Add the fusili. Cook for 3 minutes less than the package instructions, add in the spinach, and cook for 1 more minute. Drain well, drizzle with olive oil, and let cool at room temperature, turning every so often.
To make the Romesco dressing, take the cooled roasted red peppers you set aside, and puree with the almonds, red wine vinegar, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. Taste for seasonings.
Toss the cooled pasta, spinach and the roasted vegetables with the dressing. Stir in the fresh mozzarella. Eat at room temperature or cover and keep in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
If you are on a low-fiber diet, you can lessen the amount of fiber in this salad by using 8 ounces of white pasta instead of 6 ounces of whole-wheat and by lowering the amount of eggplant from 3 cups to 2 cups.