This meal was served to our family over at a friends house and since I like eggplant in pseudo non-traditional ways, I requested the recipe. The taste was not overly eggplant, but a wonderful blend of deep flavors with just enough heat. It was originally served with roasted pine nuts, which is a very nice addition, but if you don't have them on hand, which I don't typically, the meal is just fine without them. I have done roasted slivered almonds as a less expensive substitute and that worked very well, too.
Rigatoni with Eggplant Puree
- 1 medium-large eggplant, cubed into 1 inch pieces
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 3-4 big cloves of garlic - peeled
- 1 medium onion - peeled and quartered
- Drizzle of red wine vinegar
- 1 lb Roman (large) Rigatoni - or regular is fine, too. (use whole wheat pasta to make this heart healthy)
- 1/4 c pine nuts/almonds - roasted
- 3 T EVOO
- 1 t salt
- 1 t crushed red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
- 1 t ground pepper
- 1/2 c grated Parmesan
--Put cut up eggplant, onion, cloves in a bowl with 2 T of the EVOO, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes and toss to coat.
-- Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper and pour veggies so they are even.
--Roast for 35-40 minutes at 400 until veggies are soft and golden.
--Meanwhile - roast your pin nuts (or almonds) if you're using them
-- Boil water and cook pasta according to package. Reserve about a cup of pasta water.
--When veggies are done, pulse/puree them with 1 T EVOO and some of the pasta water (about 1/2 cup to start and then just go from there) You want the sauce to be thick and chunky so be careful how much you pulse and how much you water you add.
--Add just a splash or two of the red wine vinegar to the sauce and then combine the sauce with the drained pasta. Mix well 'til pasta is fully coated
--Serve with cheese on top (and nuts if you have them)