Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Rigatoni with Eggplant and Tomato Puree

Just for the record, I did not put the pasta into this bowl - that's why it looks so messy. But the taste of it was fantastic. We all loved it and 100% would make it again. The sauce consist of pureed eggplant, tomatoes, garlic and basil. Different than usual tomato sauce and so much flavor!

Rigatoni with Eggplant and Tomato Puree
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Serves 4

1 medium Italian eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
5 cloves garlic, peeled
2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 tsp red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)
1 lb rigatoni pasta
1/2 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup basil leaves, julienned

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

 Spread the eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, 2.5 Tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper out in an even layer on the baking sheet; toss thoroughly to combine. Roast in the oven until the vegetables are tender and the eggplant is golden and slightly charred, about 35 minutes.

In the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just before al dente, approximately 8-10 minutes depending on the pasta. Reserve one cup of pasta water, drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

Transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor or blender. Add the basil leaves and 3 Tbps olive oil. Blend until almost smooth. My food processor is small, so I had to do this in two batches, splitting the olive oil, basil and vegetables in half each time.

Mix the pureed sauce and 1/2 cup pasta water with the rigatoni thoroughly and cook everything together over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Add more pasta cooking water if necessary to loosen the sauce, about 1/4 cup at a time.

Turn off the heat and mix in the Parmesan and additional basil.

* optional to add ricotta salata instead of Parmesan and/or 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

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