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Monday, February 7, 2011

Eggplant Rigatoni

I had this pasta at my friend E & J’s house a few weeks ago. E & J are both Italian and grew up with moms who made homemade sauce and pastas galore. Whenever they cook Italian food for me… well… lets just say my mouth is watering just thinking about it. I made this the other day and froze it (turning into a grandma?) and got it out last night for dinner. It was fantastic. And so easy. Its a really nice late-summer dish! (adapted from Giada De Laurentiis’ & Erin’s recipe) 
  • 1 medium sized eggplant
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 3 whole cloves of garlic
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 pound rigatoni pasta
  • parmesan cheese
Cut the eggplant into 1-inch pieces and place in a bowl. Add the cherry tomatoes to that bowl, along with the garlic cloves, the 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the crushed red pepper flakes, and the salt and pepper. Stir to evenly coat. Spread onto an aluminum foil line baking sheet and roast in a 400 degree oven for about 35 minutes (until the eggplant is golden and tender). 
Remove from oven and pour veggies into food processor, along with the basil leaves and the other 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Puree until smooth. 
Meanwhile, boil the pasta to desired tenderness, saving about 1 1/2 cups of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and add some of the pasta water (about 1 cup?) to the eggplant puree. Mix the pasta with the sauce. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and more fresh basil… and parmesan!
Serve and enjoy!

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