Rigatoni with Eggplant Puree
This was one of those recipes that you want to jump in the kitchen right after you saw someone making on TV. As I was watching the lady make the pasta my mind could not stop saying "you have to make this one, you have to make this one...!"
So, I did, of course! And what a pleasant surprise!
I really enjoy eggplant dishes and this pasta did not disappoint, actually I think I just got a new pasta sauce for the top of my list of favorites!
The eggplant sauce was sooooo creamy, so delicious and flavorful, I was truly impressed and amazed by the silkiness of this dish.
Since I don't have a food processor, I used my blender to process the eggplant so my sauce was really more on the puree side, and I have to say that I loved the texture it came out. It was almost like a babaganoush pasta sauce if you will, a rich eggplant puree infused with the flavor of garlic, olive oil and a very subtle "tomatoyness" (hey, I think I created a new word!).
Very delicious and I already want to make it again!
The only thing I did different was to omit the red pepper flakes (as both me and Matheus just cannot stomach the heat) and to use basil in place of the mint, and I think that was a good move to be quite true. Oh, and I sprinkled the cheese on top, instead of mixing it in with the sauce.
Great, super easy dish, which I am sure will be even more delicious and flavorfull when I make it during the summer, at the peak of both basil and tomato crops!
Rigatoni with Eggplant Puree
(Recipe from Giada De Laurentiis)
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 (I used Basil)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with partchment paper (or aluminum foil).
In a large bowl combine the eggplant, cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and red
pepper flakes. Spread vegetables in an even layer on baking sheet and roast in the oven until 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 and roast until golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and reserve. (Keep and eye on these, they burn REALY fast!)
While vegetables are roasting cook the pasta until tender. Drain, put pasta in a large bowl and reserve 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid.
Transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor. Add the mint 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.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings.