Posted by: thebellalife | August 6, 2009

Rigatoni with Eggplant Puree

About a year ago, my Sister-In-Law introduced me to this DELICIOUS pasta recipe on foodnetwork.com (courtesy of Giada De Laurentis).  (I know Giada can be kind of annoying on her show but, I’m willing to admit, she knows how to make a mean pasta dish).  One of the best things about this recipe is that it is EASY.  You basically throw the vegetables into the oven, roast them, puree them and voila - PASTA SAUCE

Rigatoni with Eggplant Puree

 

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic, whole
  • (sometimes I add 1/2 of a white onion {cut into large cubes}  for extra flavor)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (if you don’t have pine nuts, or don’t like pine nuts – leave them out. It will be just as tasty)
  • 1 pound rigatoni pasta
  • 1/4 cup torn fresh mint leaves (if you don’t have fresh mint leaves, no worries. You could always try a 1-2 Tablespoons of fresh Italian Parsley or fresh Basil)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine the eggplant, cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (this is where I add the onion).

Spread the vegetables out in an even layer on the baking sheet. Roast in the oven until the vegetables are tender and the eggplant is golden, about 35 minutes.

While the vegetables are roasting, place the pine nuts in a small baking dish. Place in the oven on the rack below the vegetables. Roast until golden, about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and reserve.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta into a large bowl and reserve 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid.

Transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor. Add the torn mint leaves and extra-virgin olive oil. Puree the vegetables.

Transfer the pureed vegetables to the bowl with the pasta and add the Parmesan. Stir to combine, adding the pasta cooking liquid 1/2 cup at a time until the pasta is saucy. Sprinkle the pine nuts over the top and serve.

Serve with a small salad, fresh french bread and dipping sauce. ENJOY!

Camberley

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