Pepper Capponata Conchiglioni with Rockfish

Sometimes, once just isn’t enough. Your first visit to New York. A bite of steak. A glass of amazing wine. With things like these, one taste deserves another. Do you ever feel that way with ingredients that you’ve used? Those grapes from last week’s lamb special did that for me. There was something about their sweetness, their depth of flavor. I knew there was so much more I could do with them.

So, I set about to another recipe. This local pepper capponata with rockfish and pesto really turned out well. Try it at home and let me know what you think!
Pepper Capponata Conchiglioni with Rockfish
makes 4 servings

1 eggplant
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large onion
1/2 fennel bulb
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
pinch of crushed red pepper
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup roasted grapes

Dill Pesto:
1 tsp chopped garlic
1/2 cup Italian parsley, stemmed
1 Tbsp dill, stemmed
1 Tbsp preserved lemon
1 oz Beecher's Flagship cheese
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of salt
Dash of black pepper

1 1/4 cup conchiglioni pasta

2 lbs rockfish
2 Tbsp canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste
To make the capponata, pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Wash all the vegetables and cut into a medium dice, keeping all ingredients separated. Toss the eggplant in 2 teaspoons olive oil with light salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven until lightly brown and soft, about an hour.

Increase the oven temperature to 425 F. In a large roasting dish, toss the onions and fennel with 1 teaspoon olive oil, light salt and pepper. Sweat in the oven until translucent, about 15 minutes. Add the peppers and crushed red pepper. Roast until soft and lightly brown, but retain shape, about 15 minutes. Add the eggplant to  the dish and stir in tomato paste, red wine vinegar and roasted grapes. Finish by seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

For the dill pesto, simply combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and purée until smooth. Set aside.

Bring a pot of slightly salted water to boil and cook the pasta about 8 minutes. Drain noodlesand mix into the capponata. Do this near serving, so the noodles don't get soggy in the capponata.

Cut the rockfish into four equal pieces and sprinkle both sides of each piece with a little salt and pepper. Heat a little canola oil in a sautée pan and cook fish until done, about 4 minutes a side.

Plate with the capponata conchiglione pasta on one side of the plate and the pesto on the other, then lay the fish near the edge of the pasta so the fish has one end on the pesto sauce. Voilà!

Please, try this recipe out at home and let me know what you think in the comments!

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Lover of big ideas and bold flavors. Food should be like family and friends: honest, fun, and fulfilling.

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