Monday, March 14, 2011

Rigatoni With Eggplant and Pine Nut Crunch

I have a confession...I had never eaten eggplant until I made this dinner.  I have always wanted to try it, it's a little funny looking in my opinion but that deep almost plum color always looked appealing to me.  However, I didn't know how to cook it and since I'd never had it didn't know what it taste like.  Well, I am a fan now! This is a great dinner option if you don't like meat, but with all the veggies, it's very filling and did I mention the cheese? Oh, the cheese! Mozzarella and Parmesan! YUM, YUM, YUM.
Ingredients, oops I left out the cream!

Rigatoni with Eggplant & Pine Nut Crunch
Printable Recipe 
Bon Appetit 

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 unpeeled large eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 medium yellow bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch squares
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes
  • 3 large garlic cloves, divided
  • olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh basil, divided
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1, 28oz. can whole tomatoes in juice
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • 1 pound Mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Preheat oven to 425 F.  Spray a large rimmed baking sheet w/ your nonstick spray then add the eggplant and peppers.  Cut tomatoes in half and add to baking sheet. Grate 1 garlic clove over veggies and drizzle with olive oil; toss.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast the veggies until tender, tossing them every 10, 15 minutes.  Roast for about 35 minutes.

Veggies, pre roasting

Combine 2/3 cup basil, 1/2 cup Parmesan, pine nuts, and 1 garlic clove in food processor. Blend ingredients until crumbly then season with salt to taste.

Basil, pine nut, Parmesan crumble

Blend tomatoes with juice, cream, 1 1/3 cps basil, and 1 garlic clove in food processor until smooth then add salt and pepper.

Cook pasta in pot of boiling, salted water until tender, but still firm to bite.  Drain then return to pot.  Add the veggies, sauce, and 1/2 cup Parmesan. Transfer to a large baking dish (13x9x2) and add the Mozzarella and pine nut topping.

Ready to bake

Bake pasta until heated through, 25-35 minutes then let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Eat & Enjoy!

This is a great family dish or a dinner for two with lots left over for lunch or dinner the next day :)

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