Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Penne with Roasted Eggplant Puree

I ♥ Giada deLaurentiis. I made this last night, and it was EASY, delicious and healthy.

1 medium eggplant, cut into 1" cubes (do not peel)
1 pint cherry tomatoes
3 cloves whole garlic
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 lb penne pasta (I used whole wheat... you could also use any tubular shaped pasta)
1/4 c pine nuts, toasted
1/2 c freshly grated parmesan
1/4 c fresh mint leaves, torn
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper (easy clean up). In a large bowl, toss eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, EVOO, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Spread in an even layer on the baking sheet. Roast until golden (approximately 35 minutes).

In the meantime, toast pine nuts (5-8 minutes in the oven along with the veggies). Remove from pan to a bowl to cool.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente (about 8 minutes). Drain and put pasta into a large serving bowl.

Add the roasted vegetables, mint and EVOO to a food processor and pulse a few times until the contents are pureed but still have noticeable chunks of veggies.

Toss the sauce with the pasta and parmesan. Garnish with the pine nuts.

I am not much of a mint fan when it comes to savory foods, but let me assure you that you should not leave anything out of this recipe. The mint balances out the red pepper, which gives the dish a slight kick without being spicy. Buon Appetito!

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