Pasta salads can be dull tasting. This Roasted Pasta Salad with Romesco Dressing is quite the opposite! Roasting the vegetables intensifies their sweetness to perfection. The delicious Romesco sauce made with half the... roasted pepper and almonds brings the whole dish together. There may seem to be a lot of ingredients, but their prep is short and easy, and the cooking simple, 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 and a large pinch of salt. 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.