Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Rigatoni with Eggplant Puree

Giada was making wintery recipes yesterday to warm up with. This looked delicious, and I knew it was something both Johnny and I would like - plus there's snow on the ground, so we needed the warming up! I was going to the store today anyways, so I just added the needed ingredients to my list!

1 medium eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 pint cherry tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, whole
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes (I omitted, neither of us like spicey)
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 lb. rigatoni pasta
1/4 cup torn fresh mint leaves (I substituted parsley - mint sounded too.. desserty to me)
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (I substituted mozzarella because Parmesan doesn't agree with Johnny)

Preheat the oven to 400° 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. (I just did this right on the baking sheet) 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 (I used foil). 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. Drain pasta into a large bowl and reserve 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid. (I just filled a mug with it - a little trick I stole from Racheal Ray.)

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.

Because I knew I was going to omit the mint and not add the red pepper, I thought I was going to lose a lot of the flavor. To account for this, I roasted 4 garlic cloves, instead of 3. This ended up with a little too much of a garlic after-taste when the meal was done, so in the future I'll stick to the 3 because it was still full of flavor and really delicious. It had an unexpected flavor - I thought it would be sort of a soggy, steamed eggplant mush flavor. But, it wasn't - it was a hearty, rich roasted flavor.

In shopping news: I saved $20.23 with the preferred card and $8.85 from clipped coupons, for a grand total of $29.08 off my bill!


Anonymous said...

I am still kind of scared of eggplant - may have to give this recipe a try!

Laura said...

hunh I never saw this recipe way back then! I'm glad I saw it today though, I filed it away for winter use.
Thanks for sharing on Just Another Meatless Monday and I can't wait to see what you bring next week!

April@The 21st Century Housewife said...

I really like this recipe - I'm always looking for new things to try with eggplant and this sounds delish!