Friday, September 24, 2010

Eggplant Puree with Whole-Wheat Penne Pasta

This recipe was modified from the Food Network (Giada De Laurentiis).

I made this the other night because I had an eggplant and several tomatoes I needed to use up from last week's CSA box. Hubby's not an eggplant person like I am (yeah, I love eggplant...under-statement!)
but this recipe was enjoyed by all (even little James! but I did make sure I squeezed out the pine nuts before I gave it to him).

What makes this recipe unique is the hint of mint and the toasted pine nuts (yum!) Oh, and I also tossed in a few splashes of balsamic vinegar for good measure.

I tend to adjust recipes or I make it different every time, depending on what I have on hand.

So here is the recipe according to the other night matching the above picture:

1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
3-4 ripe tomatoes, cut up
3 garlic cloves, whole
3 T. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 pound pasta (I used whole wheat penne)
1/4 cup torn mint leaves
3 T. olive oil (again)
1/2 cup grated parmesan
splashes of balsamic vinegar (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil. In a large bowl, combine the eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Spread the vegetables out in an even layer on the baking sheet. Roast in the oven until veggies are tender and eggplant is golden, about 35 mins.

While veggies are roasting, place the pine nuts in a shallow baking dish (like a glass pie pan). Place in oven on the rack below the veggies. Roast until golden (but be careful they don't burn), about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to directions, 8 to 10 minutes, until pasta is tender but al dente. Drain pasta but reserve some of the cooking liquid about 1/2 cup.

After veggies are done roasting, transfer to a food processor. Add torn mint leaves and the second round of olive oil. Puree the veggies. Toss pureed veggies with pasta and add the parmesan. Add cooking liquid until it's saucy (but adjust to how you like it). Sprinkle with pine nuts over the top and feel free to splash on some balsamic vinegar.

Serves 4 to 6.


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