Sunday, October 4, 2015

Eggplant + Pasta = Heaven

Our local grocery store is flooded with eggplants and of course I stumble upon this recipe from a blog which I frequently visits. I thought I should give this a try mainly it was the season, We love egg plant, and wanted to add a twist to our regular mundane pasta dishes. The results were amazing.

At the end we had more reasons to love this dish and a bonus no meat in this dish at all. 

I loved the subtle mint flavor and the kick from red peppers. Cheese makes it so much better. I took this for lunch at work and works great with a small salad. My oldest had this for dinner and he liked it very much. We will be making this few times this year. At least before the end of the egg plant season. 

1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pint cherry tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, whole
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 pound rigatoni pasta
1/4 cup torn fresh mint leaves
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Watch how to make this recipe.
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. 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.

Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

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